Ecuador: Isabel’s brave story of transformation

By Monalisa Michielin, Ecuador Portfolio Advisor

In June this year, I visited Ecuador to monitor the impact that World Vision and Child Sponsorship is having in our field projects. As with every field monitoring visit I go on, I always make sure I walk along the streets to meet the people directly involved in the transformation of our projects.

During my visit to the Vuelta Larga sponsorship project, I had the chance to meet Isabel while walking through the community.

Isabel is a single mum of five children who survived domestic violence in her past.

World Vision Ecuador had the opportunity to reach out and invited her to attend a few workshops in protection, economic development and leadership. Isabel also had the opportunity to see a counsellor and was the focal point of a quick transformation in terms of participation resilience and her willingness to learn new skills. Her story touched me, because she was quick to begin supporting other parents to join the workshops and engaging with the schools and partners.

She told me she never had the opportunity to finish school and became pregnant at an early age.

Isabel had gone through so much, but still kept an incredible smile.

I heard Isabel’s story during the community presentation that morning before my walk to the streets of the community. Isabel gave a speech on how this project changed her life, I then decided to walk and started talking to her and she invited me to visit her house.

Vuelta Larga is an Afro Ecuatorian region, with lots of African influence. It is also near the border with Colombia, where there are a large concentration of refugees crossing the border, creating drug trafficking, unemployment, violence in the streets, domestic violence, alcohol and drug consumption and many other social issues.

As I sat with Isabel, she started telling me how World Vision had impacted her life.

 

 

World Vision asked Isabel if she wanted to be more involved in the program, as she already had children who were participating in sponsorship projects.

During one of World Vision’s workshops on leadership and life skills, Isabel learnt to plant and cultivate vegetables. Having an empty piece of land in her backyard helped her to start planting the seeds donated by one of our partners - the Ministry of Agriculture. Isabel then decided to replicate her skills and started teaching other people in the community, thus becoming one of our volunteer leaders.

I was really impressed by how the skills gained through our workshops started changing her life and of her children as well.

Isabel shared that – thanks to sponsors in Australia – she gained more confidence, knowledge to create her own vegetable garden and skills in how to pursue her own business within the local market.

She started selling vegetables at the market and also ran her own workshops for other mums who had experienced domesticviolence – focusing on how to protect their children.

Isabel also brought tears to my eyes while sharing her life story and her life transformation after meeting World Vision. She had a large garden with vegetables now and with more knowledge in terms of nutrition and hygiene to share with her kids.

Being a mum of two kids, I did feel sad with Isabel’s story, but also happy for her having this opportunity to change her life and help her kids to have a better future.

During my visit to Isabel’s house, she shed some tears of happiness for having her children attend school - an opportunity that she never had herself.

World Vision Ecuador and the Vuelta Larga program have been partnering with the local government to sustain our projects in education, health, sanitation, protection, and economic development. I enjoy working closely with the Vuleta Larga project and others in Ecuador. I hope that we can continue our work transforming lives and building better communities, with the support of our sponsors. Thank you.

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