As individuals with the capability to travel, it can be so easily forgotten that our opportunities to take a trip away from our current environment is a privilege and not a right.
Whether it is a weekend away with friends or a few months abroad in foreign lands, it is an opportunity for us to make a difference to the areas we travel to or through.
Honestly, it is why I started my non-profit initiative Project #ShowSumLove because I believe that value creation is more than just money. It is also being able to empower individuals through resources and opportunities.
At the end of the day, we’re all human and greatness can’t thrive if the resources and opportunities are not available.
Prior to leaving for Ecuador, it was my mission to raise funds to help those affected by the earthquake and I knew it was something I had to do.
Honestly, imagine having everything, and losing all that you had or having very little to begin with and being robbed of everything you relied on for sustenance.
Thanks to my network at home in Toronto and fellow, kind-hearted bloggers who donated, it allowed me to raise over C$1,600 to purchase 17 LifeStraw Family 1.0 water filters (18,000L per filter) as well as basic necessities and treats for the kids at the Santa Maria de Esperenza Orphanage in Montañita. In addition to the financial donations, I brought down a suitcase of medical supplies on behalf of Not Just Tourists Toronto to a small clinic in Valdivia as well as a bag of hygiene product donations collected from Toronto which were deployed to those in the north of Ecuador through Montañita En Accion.
My initial mission evolved into 3 mini projects which was an incredible experience. It allowed me to work with locals and local businesses to provide resources needed to help re-build the lives and areas affected by poverty and of course, the earthquake. If it weren’t for the support and help from Montañita En Accion, Montañita Spanish School and Community Hostel (phenomenal strategic partners) the execution of this initiative in Ecuador would not have been possible.
I’m not rich and don’t work for a non-profit, so how did I make this possible as a solo traveler?
Easy. All it takes is a little passion, planning and organization.
Montañita Spanish school has a number of volunteer programs for students, one of which is at a clinic in Valdivia located 20 mins away from Montañita.
Speaking with Monica, a Suiss native, and registered nurse, she works with the clinic as well as clinics in the north to assist with the earthquake relief. Happily taking in the donated medical supplies, she provided insight to the realities of Ecuador. Given the lack of resources and aid from the government, Monica will be utilizing the medical supplies at the Valdivia Futuro medical clinic and bring the remaining supplies with her when she travels to the areas in the North.
Poste Rojo en San Vincente
Strategic Partner: Montañita En Accion
A group of locals from Montañita with fantastic dreams and great hearts, work together to provide opportunities and resources to those that have been affected by natural disasters and poverty. Dedicated members like Ale, Jorge, Jonathan, Julie and Javier (to name a few) work hard to help rebuild communities, impact lives and create sustainability projects.
My deepest gratitude to this group and their big hearts as they took the donated filters to the North. Each of the filters have gone to families in the San Vincente area that are in dire need of clean drinking water.
Non -profit group, Poste Rojo, works extremely hard to assist members in the impoverished community of San Vincente through their own initiatives. I certainly commend their contributions and passion for creating social change in their country.
Santa Maria de Esperenza Orfanato
Strategic Partner: Montañita Spanish School
Another volunteer program that is offered through Montañita Spanish School is working with the sweet, smiling faces of the children at the Santa Maria de Esperenza Orfanato. As heartbreaking as their circumstances, these children find family, love and joy amongst each other and I truly do hope that the government provides more funding to support the orphanages as these faces are the future of Ecuador. Without the resources, how will they be able to maximize their fullest potentials to rise above their current situations?
This orphanage is divided up into three floors: Bottom floor is for the younger boys, 2nd floor is for the younger girls and the top floor is for the older girls.
Where are the older boys? They are at another facility located in Manglaralto.
With the funds we raised, we donated nearly C$600 to purchase basic necessities like powdered milk, soap, shampoo, clean underwear, and socks for the kids.
Additionally, we allocated some of the money to provide the kids with some fun items like frisbees, a ball, pencil crayons, playing cards and plasticine. After all, kids still need to be kids 😉
For more details on the initiatives in Ecuador, please visit www.projectshowsumlove.com for a comprehensive breakdown of financials, image gallery, comprehensive blog posts, etc.
As travellers, we can live the life we love and experience some pretty incredible things during our adventures. In all honesty, why not take it a step further by taking our wealth of knowledge and resources to give back to the areas we travel to/through. #travelwithapurpose
Related Post: 5 Ways To Make Sustainable Travel A Reality