May 18, 2020

YOU ARE MAKING THE DIFFERENCE!

Like the rest of the world, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has faced tremendous challenges in response to Covid-19. On March 12 during our service, we were told that we needed to close, perhaps indefinitely. We were able to distribute all of the perishable food in our pantry to our clients before we left for the day. Although we were no longer able to operate our kitchen because of the coronavirus, we knew that the need was about to become ever greater.

This news came during a year of tremendous growth as the need for services for our refugee guests and financially challenged Ecuadorians has grown. On March 12th we were serving approximately 800 lunches a week with many of our guests being under 5 years of age.

As in every corner of the world, those with less suffer more. Loss of income and the inability to get food to people in the midst of this pandemic has swelled the numbers in need. The inability to gather meant that we needed to create a new model to help hungry people.

Hearts of Gold, an umbrella organization for a number of foundations in Cuenca, quickly identified the 40 most vulnerable families in these foundations. In partnership with them the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has been able to fund food baskets for these families. Each food basket feeds a family of five two meals a day for seven days. Since that time we have been able to raise enough funds to supply 77 families weekly food baskets, a total of 1,078 meals per week.

In addition, we have teamed with Cuenca councilwoman Marisol Peñaloza’s project to bring food baskets, medicine, and clothing to remote communities in the mountains. One such community can only be reached by leaving the highway and traveling another three hours on horseback. Your donations are currently helping 45 such families.

Like the restaurants, the Cuenca Soup Kitchen has effectively become a “to-go” operation. By pooling our resources with Hearts of Gold and councilwoman Peñaloza, food is provided to those in need. Given the circumstances we are fully committed to our new normal. We are happy to adjust our methods in order to reflect the requirements of the current situation. After all, it is the mission that is important and with your generosity we have been able to continue to feed hungry people.

It has been an honor to work together with such dedicated and involved people in our community. Thank you all for your kind heart, please continue supporting this project that has grown because of your generosity.

 

With love and gratitude,

May 18, 2020

Mirame's Bun in the Oven: Respected Childbirth Wee

Hey Everyone!! What an intense 2020 year!! I’d like to send you a warm blessing from me & the Mírame project during this time of global shifting uncertainty.

In regards to Mírame, I’m excited to share that the project has $1500 to dedicate activities for 2020. Rest assured, I’ll be diligently stewarding this incredible gift to leverage the greatest impact for women’s economic and personal empowerment. Starting with virtual platform adoption to continue Mírame’s outreach to connect and educate Ecuadorian women during this pandemic.

This time last year, Mírame embarked on 2019’s biggest activity of the year; a week-long awareness and education week co-hosted by Espacio de Co-Escucha for the international “La Semana del Parto Respetado (Respected Childbirth Week), which takes place annually on the week of May (19-25th for 2020).

“La Semana del Parto Respetado” represents an important endeavor to ‘mother the mother’ and reclaim childbirth as a transformative, natural process to the human condition- and particularly female bodies. The date acts as a marker to challenge current medical practices, due to the fact that 74% of childbirth in Ecuador occurs through cesarean medical intervention (the WHO states that only 20% of births actually require cesarean intervention).

Last year, “La Semana del Parto Respetado” first reached Cuenca, Ecuador sparking conversations on what it means for a woman to have “birthing rights” (aka- the right to: give birth in a squatting position, receive food and water during labor, deny vaginal contact to determine cervical dilation… etc.) and also introduced ancestral themes of feminine transformation and corporal empowerment derived from local indigenous communities and introduced into the modern culture birthing dialogue.

La Semana del Parto Respetado was a whirlwind week that directly impacted 109 attendees and received great community feedback. Complete with front page news coverage, tv and radio interviews. The weeklong event saw a series of public workshops, a public mural made from the imprints of placentas, a highlighting conference with 6 medical and tribal medicine panelists (that received much esteem and applause), and a peaceful “informative peace protest” in front of the hospital that sees the most cases of cesareans in Cuenca (roughly 80%).

The biggest “win” of it all was being contacted by the hospital where the informative protest took place with a request to educate medical staff on the rights of women in labor.  

Looking towards this year, COVID quarantine policies and social distancing is changing the scope and strategies of what was originally planned. For now, our goal for “La Semana del Parto Respetado” is to repeat the same news media coverage, embark on an online awareness campaign, and to host public training and education webinars online for the same number of direct beneficiaries. 

This year’s theme is “Parir es Poder” (Birthing is Power) and we’re super excited to invite women to explore the power of their bodies during such a transformative moment of a woman’s (and infant’s!) life. Stay tuned to see how all the fun shakes down for the month ahead by following us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Mirame.Vivir

A warm & heartfelt thank you for investing in another year of Mírame's program advancement, and contributing to the benefit and wellbeing of the benefit of mothers and expectant mothers in Ecuador. 

Apr 30, 2020

Stronger Together

Dear Friends, 

 

We hope you are healthy and safe at home

 

Today we are sharing the emergency plan we have had to activate during this worldwide crisis we all are having to confront.

El Arenal Foundations has 74 children and teenagers who attend the foundation to get counseling and help with their school asignments and make shure they are not walking out on the street exposed to dangers of society, we also know a big part of el Arenal foundation is their nutritional program, many children and teengers rely on the snack and lucn they recieve everyday because when they go home, they have nothing to eat.

With this crisis, El Arenal foundation had to close its doors and think of different ways to continue serving the community.

Theay are offering therapies and support one on one to the families that have emotional emergencies, the teachers of el arenal go tho the houses of the families that have no internet to check on them and make sure they are working still on school activies.

But mainly, thanks to you, el Arenal fuondation is still able to cook lunch every day and the families that are close come and pick up enough food for each family member. additionaly the Director of el Arenal sends a snack for the children to eat at home too.

 

For the families that cant  walk to el arenal everyday, we have created a bag full of lentils, beans, tuna, powdered milk, oatmel, soap, alcohol and many more items for the familes to be able to eat at home, this food kits can last for up to 8 days to a family of 5 members.

Every Friday the bags are ready to be picked up for each family.

The faces of relief of the parents is  something I will not be able to express with words.

They walk  back home with tears in their eyes knowing they can cook for their children and they can go to bed with a meal on their stomach.

Please know how big of a difference you are making, you are part of prayers songs and tears of Joy everyday!

Please know we keep you on our thoughts.

Stay healty and dont forget, everyday, you are the reason why 74 children teenagers and their families are able to eat.

Big hugs to you!

 
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