A few years ago I interviewed Marcela Gómez, an anthropologist from Colombia, that was doing some work in a few communities in the northwest of Guayaquil. She was hired by Hogar de Cristo to developed a program that could help the women from these areas to revalue themselves as human beings. Before she went to these poor areas of the city, she went online and Googled the phrase: “northwest of Guayaquil”. What she found surprised her. All the news related to these areas of the city were terrible: “People being killed, robbed, assaulted, harassed”.
Marcela worked with these women for eight months with workshops on self-esteem and related issues, female leadership, personal growth and women empowerment. The first day of the workshop she asked the women What they were good at. Nobody said anything, deep inside them and because of their exposure to News that said how terrible their neighborhoods are, they thought they were worth nothing.
When the program ended these women believed they were good at something: cooking, sewing, baking, that no matter what the media or society says, they are people with rights and thoughts. At the very end they made a photo shoot of the things they were good at and made an exhibition in a local museum in Guayaquil where the pictures were presented for people to see, the exhibition was called: “Nosotras las mujeres del noreste de Guayaquil” (We, the women from the northwest of Guayaquil).
Faro de Esperanza works in communities just like the ones where Marcela worked. Some of the places like Monte Sinaí, Valerio Estacio, Ciudad de Dios are communities close to Bastión Popular, also located at the northwest of Guayaquil, where our partner churches and ministries like Hope of Bastión School are. In areas like this, with day-to-day problems about drugs, gangs and extreme poverty, people live, some survive and all of them see themselves as part of their surrounding. As I shared before, people end up believing they deserve what they have; our youth end up believing life is about having sex, using drugs, having babies at such a young age. Women believe they are not good at anything because that is what they see, that is the only thing newspapers talk about.
At Faro de Esperanza we are challenging ourselves to work more integrally in the lives of the kids, youth and adults that attend our camp programs. Also, we are thinking in new ways to approach the communities with programs that could help, not only their hearts, their lives as christians, but also their lives as families, communities.
The need is big, but we are dreaming even bigger. We want to run workshops for kids, youth and adults that could help them in their life as individuals and as part of a community. We want to work with other organizations. We want to work with you through partnership and through short term mission trips. We want to help communities like Bastión, Sauces, Tiwinza, San Vicente, Arenal and other places in need in Ecuador, we want to bring hope and knowledge, develop permanent ministries like kids or youth clubs, in places like Tiwinza or San Vicente, or build a library or a computer lab. We have big ideas and a heart full of passion.
For now I invite you to support us. Forward this story to a friend. Donate. Write to us, tell us how you want to help or Pray for us. In any case we will be blessed.
Thank you for reading.
God is good!