A visit to our social project
As is a SOLEQ.travel tradition, I was able to visit our social project – the Refugio de los Sueños – last week with some of my colleagues. This way I was able to see where the money goes that we donate to the foundation – every one of our clients automatically contributes $10. Recently we became member of Pack for a Purpose (http://www.packforapurpose.org/destinations/south-america/ecuador/soleq-travel/), a social project that invites travellers to take some extra stuff in their suitcases, like socks, games or toothpaste when they travel to Ecuador.
We went to the Refugio to make sure that the list of products needed by them was accurate and up-to-date. In the Refugio are 180 children, whose parents neglect their parental tasks and thus they cannot always go home safely after school. The kids that visit the Refugio get medical and educational attention. The materials on the list provided will give them even more possibilities for spending their time filled with meaning instead of roaming the streets.
We were invited over for lunch by the extremely friendly staff members of the Refugio and we saw how organized the institution was. After the kids (aged 5 to 17) had eaten their lunch, they washed up their own plates and gave them back to the kitchen employee. Then they could go to the different rooms the Refugio has, like the crafts room or the homework room. Some kids had appointments with the volunteer doctor and dentist in the doctor’s office or the dentist’s room. This way the kids’ health is ensured, since their parents usually do not take the time to care about this. Some kids were kicking around an empty plastic bottle pretending it was a football, since all the footballs were taken by other groups, and most of the girls were busy with the coloring pages that we had brought them.
Afterwards, we got a tour through some of the rooms that were not open at the time. The Refugio has a bakery, where once a week the kids learn how to bake delicious cookies, cakes or breads. One of the former kids who visited the Refugio when they began in the 1980’s has gotten a scholarship through the Refugio and now is a professional chef. With his experience he helps the kids have fun, but also learn about cooking, hygiene and cleanliness. Other stations are the garden, woodworking room, and we were shown the showers where the kids can shower if they do not have access to this in their homes.
I must say that it was a very humbling experience which made me realize how much depends on where you are born, and in what environment. These kids are so lucky that they have a place where they can escape daily life, have fun and receive love from the staff. It has made me motivated to work even harder to make sure that the Refugio is well represented within our business model, just like all my colleagues, and to convince friends and family that come over to bring stuff that is urgently needed by the Refugio in Ecuador.
You want to be part of the social project? Participate in our Sustainable Tour where you will pay a visit to the Refugio de los Sueños and take part in other socially and environmentally responsible activities.