Building a Women's Shelter in Cotacachi, Ecuador

by Four Walls and a Roof Cotacachi Project

At Four Walls and a Roof, we rely on the goodness of donors and the strength of volunteers and interns willing to devote their time and energy to our work. Through a Women in Leadership Program at the University of Illinois, we have had the privilege of working with young undergraduate women leaders who have developed projects aimed at increasing fundraising efforts for FWAAR in order to continue to seed the efforts to establish a child resource center and computer lab within the shelter. Through our ongoing communication with women organizers in Ecuador, we know that the shelter is in need of support in the wake of waxing and waning support from local government. 

So this summer, Four Walls and a Roof is partnering with the Women in Leadership program to run a drive for much needed clothes, bedding, and kitchen items for the shelter and generate funding for programs and services. We hope you'll join in this effort by donating to Four Walls and a Roof today! 

Five years ago, I returned home from a six month study and internship program, that afforded me the opportunity to work with La Coordinadora de Mujeres Urbanas and El Centro de Atencion a la Mujer y la Familia de Cotacachi, two organizations born of a deep commitment to the advancement and liberation of women. The experience led me to found Four Walls and a Roof and the project to help raise the necessarily capital to open the first domestic violence shelter in the rural Andean area of Cotacachi, Imbabura, Ecuador. 

Five years later, the doors are open and the shelter is now home to women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as we continue to think on our family members, friends, and neighbors who--too--may be struggling to escape a violent relationship, we know that we are not alone. One of the most precious things about the women's shelter in Cotacachi is that the same women that have organized the community to resist violence and support survivors are the workers, the developers, and the administration of the shelter itself. To protect their project and support it's sustained impact, I'm asking each and every one of you to consider donating to Four Walls and a Roof this holiday season. 

Your tax-deductible donation will go to support the ongoing development of the shelter including: beds and bedding, kitchen items, the development of the childcare center, resource library, and computer lab. 

With the holidays fast approaching, are hearts call our to yours: what will you give this season?

Workers in the Women
Workers in the Women's Center

Tremendous news! After years of hard labor and strategizing the organizers of La Coordinadora de Mujeres Urbanas were able to locate a building for the first women's shelter in the area! But our work isn't over...

The new women's shelter needs your support! We are seeking monetary donations to help build resources within the space--beds and bedroom furniture, a resource center, a computer lab, and childcare facility. We are also looking to support the ongoing training of sexual assault and domestic violence advocates in the center! Please contribute today and support the work of these tremendous women and allies that continue to work for women's rights in the Andes! 


Greetings Four Walls and a Roof Friends,

A lot has happened in the past year with the project to support women anti-violence organizers in the Andes and their project to establish a women's shelter in Cotacachi! There have been many struggles--from negotiating with local government to accessing funding and support--but I'm excited to bring you good news!

Last summer, staff from Four Walls and a Roof visited our colleagues in Ecuador to complete an assessment of the shelter project. Our communication with colleagues had lead us to believe that much had affected their organizing--the new mayor in Cotacachi had absorbed the women's center into the government, effectively laying off all workers at the center. But, upon our arrival, we were told that only 2 days before we arrived the center was re-opened and the former director had successfully reapplied and was given back her position. 

We spent weeks attending meetings, organizing projects, and creating plans for getting the shelter together. (We even met with a Global Giving representative!) Our colleagues revealed that they had recently set their eyes on a building and were hoping to purchase it to turn it into the women's center and shelter. Soon that dream will become a reality, which is why we need your help now more than ever. 

By donating to Four Walls and a Roof you can help us purchase furniture, bedding, computers (for our internet literacy center), children's toys and games (for the children's playroom), and a variety of health and safety products that will help keep women and their families safe. 

Please make a donation today to help us open the shelter!

Greetings Friends of Four Walls and a Roof,

I'm very delighted to tell you about our recent accomplishments and plans for the summer, as we continue to move forward with the project to establish a women's shelter in Cotacachi, Ecuador. Our Cotacachean colleagues in Ecuador are working to generate support for the shelter project and women's rights in the area. In the midst of changing political environments, they remain steadfast in their dedication to women's education, women's empowerment, and community building, and those of us here at Four Walls and  Roof continue to stand in solidarity--striving to obtain critical funding for the project and to raise awareness of the need for international support for women. 

This summer, I will be traveling to Cotacachi to complete a formal assessment for the women's shelter project, as well as, conduct doctoral research on women's community education in the area. As part of the project assessment, we--Ecuadorian colleagues and myself--hope to revise our plan of action  for the project, set timelines and goals, as well as, assess the needs and wants of women in the area. After my visit (June 9th-July 22nd), I will report back to all of you about our new project goals and timeline. I'm really excited going forward and hope you are too. 

In my own research, I will be examining how our colleagues are using educational workshops and initiatives to help women make informed decisions about themselves and their families. I will be looking at how women educators in Cotacachi view themselves in relationship to a larger Latin American women's movement and how they build coalition across lines of difference (indigenous, mestiza, and afro-ecuadorian women). I'm excited to share more details about this research project upon my return as well.

Another exciting thing to report is that a member of Global Giving will be visiting Cotacachi during my stay to meet with me and the rest of our colleagues to learn about the project. It will be nice to make those connections more formally and to be able to share our stories and dedication to this project to one another in person. 

Here in Champaign, Illinois we're also hosting fundraisers, sharing the story of women organizers in Cotacachi through the "Carichina Women" are exhibition, and generating support online. If you have some time, please make a donation today. 


Rachel Storm, Executive Director

Four Walls and a Roof  |  405 W. Springfield Ave. 2W, Champaign, IL. 61820

t. 630-677-7219 | e.


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Organization Information

Four Walls and a Roof Cotacachi Project

Location: Urbana, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Four Walls and a Roof Cotacachi Project
Project Leader:
Rachel Storm
Executive Director
Champaign, Illinois United States

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