Over the past couple of months All Hands has been hard at work trying to secure funding for rebuild programs in Ecuador. Thanks to your support, our Partnerships Associate on the ground was able to build solid relationships with various local organizations and international NGOs. Although we are unable to commit to an extension of our program in Ecuador at this time, the thousands of earthquake survivors whose lives we improved, followed by our concerted attempt to stay and rebuild, demonstrate our commitment to rebuilding hope in communities devastated by disaster. We continue to explore opportunities to return in the future as our thoughts are always with those still recovering.
As it turns out, although we were not able to secure enough funding to launch a reconstruction program in Ecuador at this time, the relationships which you made possible for our Associate to build are bearing fruit now in nearby Peru, which suffered massive losses after flooding and mud slides ravaged coastal communities over the course of this year’s long rainy season. For example, a corporation which supported our Ecuador response is now supporting our efforts in Peru. All Hands has been working in a town called Huarmey on the coast, building Temporary Learning Centers and mudding out homes. If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Peru, please visit our website, our Safe Spaces for Children Impacted by Peru Floods page, or our upcoming Back to School Peru page. We thank you for your generous donations and hope you continue to support our programs all across the world.
Now that the Response Phase of our Ecuador Earthquake Relief program has come to an end, we continue to search for funds to once again start our work in an area in great need of assistance. During our many months in the cities of Canoa and Manta we made strong connections within the communities and built a trusted reputation based on our work and final product.
We are now in our fundraising stage for a Recovery phase and our partnerships team on the ground has approached various local foundations throughout Ecuador. One foundation is very interested in a school rebuild program in an area that is incredibly underserved. We have been looking to replicate our success in construction and design and have been working with a specific school closer to the epicentre to build 24 classrooms. We are exploring the cost of building a steel (for earthquake resistance) and recycled Textra Pak clad structure to try and create a unique and sustainable solution. The initial estimate of cost for a school is around $600,000 now that we are in the late design stages and we are looking for program funding. Through our many meetings and discussions with the community we have been able to listen to suggestions and gain input from community members and stakeholders. All Hands has always stuck to the belief that in order for our organization to make a positive difference in the community you have to listen to what the community truly needs. Our team on the ground has been working with community leaders so that we can make a positive impact and provide the critical assistance that is needed.
Another local foundation was impressed with our “Manos a la Costa” Core Home program and is exploring the option of funding more permanent housing in communities where many families are still living in earthquake-damaged homes or temporary shelters. We are continuing to explore all funding opportunities in hopes that we will secure enough funds to begin recovery efforts in Ecuador again. Thanks to generous donations like yours we have been able to start putting pieces of the puzzle together in order to have a greater chance of returning to Ecuador, and we are greatly appreciative.
It has now been almost 9 months since a devastating earthquake hit Ecuador in April, killing hundreds and destroying schools, buildings and homes. All Hands Volunteers immediately responded to the disaster and in that 9 months we have been able to impact 2,300 people through our efforts. 394 volunteers came together from 44 different countries to lend their time and skills to assist in the response and recovery efforts.
For the immediate response in the weeks following the earthquake our volunteers demolished or rubbled 62 different homes and 1 school, allowing the rebuilding process to begin much faster. 31 temporary shelters were constructed in order to provide a safe space for families that had been living in heavily damaged structures.
30 families were chosen as beneficiaries of our “Manos a la Costa” Core Home project. These 30 homes were built from the ground up using sustainable materials like bamboo, and constructed using methods that will reinforce the home and prevent damage in the future. These permanent homes were designed with the families to create a safe, comfortable space that could accommodate their individual needs.
At the end of the response effort of our program we can proudly say we have assisted 575 families. Over 50,000 volunteer hours combined to make the strongest impact in areas that were largely forgotten about in the wake of the earthquake. In one community, an 800 liter water tank was set up that provided water to a community made up of 50 families, a basic necessity that they did not have access to before. All Hands looks to secure more funding to continue our work and will be exploring all options in order to make an even greater impact on the incredible communities in Ecuador.
Our Ecuador Earthquake Response program is moving along smoothly and progress is being made every day. Our work has transitioned from the immediate response of rubbling homes and constructing temporary shelters to constructing permanent bamboo homes. Our team on the ground has assessed the communities of Canoa and San Vicente to identify those most in need of our assistance. To date All Hands Volunteers have fully completed 8 permanent bamboo homes that have been handed over to the beneficiaries in a community ceremony. These homes were designed with the beneficiaries to ensure that all needs were met, each family had total control over the outcome of their home. These shelters are outfitted with latrine systems that provide a sanitary environment for the families. These shelters ensure that all families are comfortable and safe in the land they own, and prevent families from living in unsafe structures or having to leave.
Since our last report our Learning Center has been completed! The center is officially designated as a SER Centre which stands for Health, Education, and Recreation in Spanish. The SER Centre is located in the Ceibo Renacer neighborhood of Manta and will assist the entire surrounding community. This center is designed to provide classes and a meeting space for the families and children in the community. Our staff on base paid special attention to the playground outside of the center which is designed to assist children severely impacted by the earthquake. Each element of the playground is made from recycled materials and allows children to experience various motions and sensations. These motions and sensations assist children that suffer from post-traumatic stress after the earthquake and help them to get reacclimated to movement.The activities at the playground will support the recovery process by allowing children an outlet to express themselves creatively and psychologically.
Currently All Hands Volunteers are in the process of completing another 8 homes which will be completed in the coming weeks. These homes will be turned over soon in another ceremony, and our work will continue with new beneficiaries. The need is endless and we work hard every day to try and impact the most families in the area. Your donations help to further our efforts in the community and provide a safe space for those affected by the earthquake. We thank you for your continued support and invite you to stay up to date on our work around the world through our website www.hands.org!
All Hands has been on the ground in Ecuador since April and an enormous amount of progress has been made. The thousands of people that were affected by the earthquake are beginning to recover and regain a sense of normalcy. We have demolished and rubbled 16 homes to date, with 1 home in progress. To date we have completed 14 temporary structures using bamboo. In order to reinforce these structures to prevent damage in the event of a future earthquake we use rebar in the walls. This forces debris to fall outside of the structure rather than in to the structure during the earthquake. We have reinforced 23 structures with rebar to date. In order to supply our ever-growing need for bamboo we are looking in to a collaboration to build a bamboo treatment center that would provide the bamboo necessary to construct shelters. This center will not only treat bamboo, but will also build local capacities with bamboo construction, treatment and masonry. We have also received approval to build a Temporary Learning Center in San Miguel de Briceño.
With over 16,000 homes destroyed or damaged homes there is endless amounts of work to be done. In many areas that are difficult to access we are helping out in various different ways, including assisting the 200 families living in the Saman Internally Displaced Peoples Camp. Drainage ditches have been created to combat the flooding that has occurred due to earthquake and worsened by storms. These ditches also surround the camp in order to prevent flooding there and mud buildup. Inside of the camp we have constructed wash tables for sanitation purposes and a permanent fence to aid in security.
We are greatly appreciative of your donations and hope that you continue to support our mission in Ecuador. We would not be able to sustain our programs without donors like you. For any additional information please visit our website!
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