Sep 20, 2021

UBECI Ecuador update September 2021

As outreach activities have resumed over the summer in the markets where UBECI holds its playgroups, the focus of UBECI’s social workers and psychologists has very much been on campaigns to help the children and their families with the many challenges they are facing, challenges heightened by the continuing impact of COVID.

Today we would like to share some of these activities with you.

Over the summer, the Health and COVID Prevention Campaign provided the most disadvantaged families with a bio-security kit, including face masks, sanitiser and wipes. In parallel UBECI continued its workshops informing families about steps to take in case of COVID infection and explaining that many of the ‘miracle’ remedies touted by some, such as the use of Clorox, would actually harm them and not help against COVID. 

The ongoing Emotional Support Campaign focuses on listening to the fears and challenges the children and their families face every day, making them feel that they are not alone and strengthening social and solidarity ties. For these families, poverty and the lack of opportunities and education have always been the greatest obstacles to a better life, with COVID robbing them of the little faith and hope they had left. This campaign also includes ‘a school for child carers’ to help aunts, uncles, older brothers and sisters, who are now, from one day to the next, finding themselves having to take care of a younger niece/nephew or sibling who has lost their parents to COVID.

UBECI started a series of information talks to discourage ‘Coyotage’, ie. people smuggling to the USA. This phenomenon already existed before COVID appeared but has grown exponentially with the ‘coyotes’ exploiting the desperation of poor families who sell the little they have or indebt themselves even further to pay the smugglers to get a family member to the USA. Many of those who embark on the journey disappear or perish on the way. UBECI’s talks share photographs and reports of the risks involved and stress the physical and economical losses endured by falling prey to the ‘coyotes’.  

UBECI are also supporting the families in their effort to return to a more ‘normal’ life in spite of COVID. They have organised clothes and shoe collection campaigns providing these donations to the families most in need. They have also re-started the end of month birthday celebrations for the children in the markets to support them with their emotional health through these very difficult times.

The above are only some of the essential areas of work that UBECI has embarked on in addition to resuming the playgroups in the markets. Some of the other issues they have been focussing on with the children and their families include identifying and addressing domestic violence and anger management, the importance for children to return to school, preventing depression and the risk of suicide amongst the children.

Thank you all for your continued support. It is invaluable.

Sep 13, 2021

Support CENIT by participating in a prize draw!

As the world adjusts to the challenges of Coronavirus, we’re slowly getting back to a little normality. Life goes on here as it does around the world. Our partner organisations in Ecuador have seen families return to the markets and the support workers can once again get out to play, socialise and teach the children life skills. But the situation remains challenging as many children have faced increased levels of poverty and abuse during the pandemic. They need help more than ever. You can find out more about the experiences of these children and their families at the bottom of this email.

At ViaNiños, we continue to do what we can to raise funds to support our partner organisations. Uncertainty and crowd restrictions have continued to halt our parties and pub quizzes and we’re focused on outdoor or online activities. This year we’re holding our online prize draw once again. We have three fabulous weekends away to be won! So if you’d like to spend a few days in Tuscany, The New Forest or on the Croatian coast, take a look below for details or donate to the fundraiser here.

Best of all we are participating in GlobalGiving's Little By Little match funding campaign with a 50% match on donations up to 50 USD (approx £36 GBP). So if you donate between the 13th - 17th September we will get 50% extra so £20 becomes 30!!

Thank you in advance for your support. Your donations will make a child smile and you could be the lucky winner of a wonderful weekend!

The ViaNiños team

Your chance to win a fabulous away-break!

We have three wonderful prizes up for grabs..

1. A weekend for two at a beautiful Tuscan hotel

2. A weekend at a stunning cottage in the New Forest – sleeps up to 10

3. A week or long weekend in a fabulous apartment on the western Croatian coast

For a suggested donation of £20, you can enter to win one of these three prizes. You can also enter for more than one! Simply include multiples of donations if you want to up your chances.

Click the link below to donate and write your name and which prize/s you want to bid for in the message box.


The Draw..

The prize winners will be drawn on September 25th 2021 and we’ll share the draw results on our ViaNiños Facebook page on the day.

We’re conscious that these do require you to travel but the vouchers for Italy and Croatia are valid indefinitely.

The Prizes..

 1. A two night break for two at a romantic getaway in Tuscany

Set on the border between Umbria and Tuscany, the Villa di Piazzano is an elegant historic estate dating back to 1464. The Villa was built as the hunting manor of Cardinal Silvio Passerini. It is located in close proximity to Cortona, in a protected nature reserve and looks out over some incredibly beautiful countryside.

An hour and half from Florence, the winners will be able to book one of the beautiful rooms at the hotel for two nights.

Flights are not included.

For more info:

** Low season only – April, May, September, October

 2. A mid-week break or long weekend in the New Forest – sleeps 10

Penny Post Cottage, originally built in the 1800's used to be the local Tiptoe post office. It has been sympathetically extended and re-purposed over the years into a lovely weekend getaway.

There is a great pub a short walk up the road and it is situated on the edge of the New Forest National Park. It's just a short drive to the coast and the popular market towns of Lymington and Brockenhurst.

It’s perfect for family or group gatherings.

For more info:

* Must be used within a year

** Low season only – Oct – mid-April

3. A week or long weekend in the charming historical fishing town of Novigrad in Northern Croatia – sleeps a family of 4

Visit Novigrad, an architectural gem, protected by medieval city walls, filled with beautiful historical churches and sights, rich cultural heritage and preserved natural beauty.

You can enjoy its crystalline waters and beaches, or set out along its cycling paths to discover the close by small medieval towns, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery of the Istrian peninsula.

Food lovers will relish the daily fresh seafood selection in the elegant marina restaurants and discover the excellent local wines and olive oil.

1 hour by car from the airports of Trieste and Pula, the winners will be staying at this exquisite little apartment, perfect for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children).

For more info on Novigrad: Novigrad Istria

** Low season only – April, May, Sept, Oct

The pandemic has had an untold impact on the children we support

The families and children our partner organisations support have struggled immeasurably due to the loss of income from not being able to work in the markets and the children especially missed the much needed opportunities to socialise, learn and play that our partners provide in the market playgroups. Only recently have families been able to return to the markets of Southern Quito and resume work. Over the last 18 months our partners continued to do what they could to keep in touch with the children and support from afar but it hasn’t been easy. They have also been preparing for a potential increase in families who may need support following the pandemic.

Despite the difficulties of working during the pandemic, our colleagues at CENIT adapted to new ways of working to reach the most vulnerable children and most marginalised families. As many children and young people have been unable to access online learning, CENIT have provided alternative home learning materials and also offered a safe space for small groups to come and study. Teachers, outreach workers and social workers have been in constant contact with families and provided help with basic necessities such as food as well as emotional support and practical advice. Sadly, staff are receiving many more reports of domestic abuse, so dealing with this has become an important focus of their work too.

As markets were closed until recently, many more children have been working in dangerous environments or spending time begging on the streets. In the struggle to eliminate child labour, things are moving in the wrong direction, which is why CENIT's work is more important than ever. They are working every day to make sure children prioritise their school work and get extra help when they need it.

Thank you for your support.

Prize 1 - stay at Villa di Piazzano in Tuscany
Prize 1 - stay at Villa di Piazzano in Tuscany
Prize 2 - stay at Penny Post Cottage, New Forest
Prize 2 - stay at Penny Post Cottage, New Forest
Prize 3 - stay in apartment in Novigrad, Croatia
Prize 3 - stay in apartment in Novigrad, Croatia


Jun 15, 2021

CENIT Ecuador update June 2021

CENIT recently celebrated their 30th anniversary – that is, 30 years of working for the eradication of child labour and helping working children in the poorest sectors of Quito. CENIT’s Director, Ruth, extended her thanks to everyone who has played a part in this journey and that includes you as supporters of this project. 

Over the last 30 years, CENIT have worked day in, day out to support working children, young people and their families to overcome difficulties, access education, realise their rights and live a life of dignity, becoming agents of change within their own families and communities.

How it all started… Sister Arellano wanted to help the many working girls in the Chiriyacu – Camal market and the surrounding areas in Southern Quito. In 1986, Centro de la Niña Trabajadora – CENIT was started as a project by Sister Arellano and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd with the purpose of providing refuge, care, and education, both social and spiritual, to working children, adolescents, and their families. Their motivation and slogan was, “You can’t sleep peacefully while there is a girl in the street.” From 1983 – 1991, the Sisters made frequent visits and organized meetings for children and their families who worked within the Chiriyacu – Camal market. On April 20, 1991, CENIT opened its doors on the streets of Huacho and Jose Peralta, where the organization is currently located. CENIT has expanded its services over the past 30 years and, most importantly, provided love and care to each and every person who forms part of the CENIT community.

I was lucky to be part of the CENIT team for a while when I spent a year volunteering at CENIT back in 2007-8. It was an unforgettable experience and I am grateful now to be part of ViaNinos and have the opportunity to continue supporting their work all these years later. It has been an extremely difficult year for the CENIT community as Ecuador has been hit hard by the pandemic, so they need our support more than ever. Please help if you can.

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