I grew up, and currently live, in a small town in northern New Mexico. So I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed that my Ecuador adventure ended up as front page news. I’m not looking to be glorified because I spend a few weeks donating what I could in a foreign country. In fact, the experience raised a lot of questions for me, that you might have noticed in my “Voluntourism” post. Still, there is one message I DO want to get out there, that the newspaper failed to mention.
I am so blessed to have the ability to interact and learn from these children, but they need something more concrete than the limited presence of foreign volunteers. They need books, puzzles, and a larger local staff.
Kim and I are both trying to raise money to send back to UBECI. We feel that the program is suffering from a considerable lack of resources. This is so important to me, and it would mean the world if our friends and family would support us. We aren’t asking for large monetary gifts, just whatever you can spare. Additionally, we are both going to run a half marathon in October to physically show our commitment to the cause. For more information, I’m including the description from our gofundme page.
For those of you who may not know us personally, our names are Kimberly Boerigter and Rebecca Martineau. Recent college graduates, we just returned from a fantastic trip to Ecuador. While there, we partnered with UBECI ( http://ubeci.org/site/), a Quito-based volunteer program, for four weeks. On the surface, UBECI provides a free daycare service to families who work in local markets. Typically, children in these situations are pulled from school to work alongside their parents and help provide the family with more income. The program offered by UBECI not only relieves parents for a few hours, but also gives these kids a chance to enjoy their childhood. In addition to playtime, volunteers often bring activities to help teach them reading, counting, and basic social skills. The programs are led by extremely qualified teachers who help plan and customize weekly activities for the different age groups, but supplies are lacking. While in Ecuador, we were able to donate our time and love to these kids. However, the need for better funding was undeniable. Many of the books were well worn from constant use and a good portion were not even in Spanish.
We will both be running half marathons on October 19th (along with our significant others) in hopes of gaining support for the UBECI program. If you have heard about our experiences in Ecuador, or simply feel compelled, we encourage you to donate. All of the money raised will be sent to UBECI to help alleviate the cost of educational books and supplies for the children. Having lived for four weeks in the same house as the Ecuadorian man who started the program during his early twenties, we feel very confident that all funds will be put to good use. We really appreciate your generosity, and would be more than happy to answer any questions pertaining to the program we worked with during our stay. Thank you to UBECI for allowing us to participate in unique experiences and IVHQ for setting us up with UBECI.