News

Today is International Women’s Day.  We would like to thank you for supporting E=H programs, and also thank our Program Coordinators for their help in supporting our mission.  Today we are sending you a story written by a woman about some women in Quito, Ecuador living in a difficult and desperate situation.  You can give hope to others with even just a small amount.  Here is her reflection of her trip visiting Quito, Ecuador.

In January 2016, I was given the opportunity to visit Quito, Ecuador….Before I went to Quito, I hadn’t really been exposed to poverty and I definitely didn’t understand the harrowing process or effects of human trafficking.

I’d been living life in my cushy little bubble, but now, I know some things. My bubble has been burst wide open and I can’t keep those things to myself anymore.

So let’s start with the facts:

1.     In order to even qualify for a minimum wage job in Quito, you must have a high school diploma

2.     Minimum wage is $350 a month

3.     Public school can be expensive. Parents have to pay for supplies, books, uniforms, etc. which can cost upwards of $600 a year (per child)

4.     Prostitution is legal in Quito if a woman is 18+

At this point you might be wondering why any of that matters. And it matters because 25% of Quito lives below the poverty line. In the poorer villages young women don’t have the financial means to attend school and if they don’t graduate, they won’t ever hold a minimum wage job.

It’s a cruel cycle that forces them to continue living in impoverished communities and can lead them to either A) sell whatever they have to make ends meet, including themselves or B) take risky “job opportunities” that turn out to be entry points into the relentless ring of human trafficking.

On my third day in Ecuador I visited Casa Adalia – a home for human trafficking survivors (E=H supports education in the home). To help me better understand the girls and their pasts, one of the founders, thought it would be good for me to see where many of them came from.  So she took me to the Center City – straight to the heart of the red light district.

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting to go to a very rundown part of town with lots of dirty alleys and crumbling buildings (has anyone seen Taken?!). But when we got there it was not only one of the most idyllic streets I’d seen in Quito, but my ignorance was apparent.

We spent over an hour talking to women on the streets and as I heard their stories my heart shattered over and over again. I desperately wanted to take each of them to the safe house and help them start over, but there was nothing I could do. In that moment I was already doing everything I could by loving on them and telling them there was hope, but it still didn’t feel like enough.

When we got back to the car, it wasn’t long before the tears started streaming. I was SO angry – angry at the situation, the circumstances and the system. My mind was racing with a million questions, but the question that changed everything for me was this: “How much money do they actually make?”

I never could have prepared myself for Desi’s response and it cut through me like bitter air on a freezing night – – – “On average $7, but once things like the room fee have been deducted, it comes out to about $4. In brothels it’s less than that.”

Four. Dollars.

The cost of a Starbucks coffee.

I was stunned.

And it was in that moment that I had the bleak realization that prostitution and human trafficking are intricately tangled in the same web – the web of poverty. Like a nasty plague living off its host, you can’t have one without the other.

I’ve struggled a lot since I’ve been home wondering how in the world you stop poverty because if you stop poverty then you can stop trafficking, right?  But that’s the million-dollar question isn’t it? People have devoted their entire lives to solving the problem and we still don’t have the answer. I don’t have the answer either.

But God wanted me to wake up and He took me to another continent to do it.

He sends me a reminder every day in the form of the number 4. I can no longer see the number 4 without seeing the faces of the girls at Casa Adalia. I haven’t had Starbucks since I got back and it’s not because I’m trying to make some kind of statement or get attention. It’s solely because I know there are thousands of women in Quito alone that are losing themselves for that very same amount – the cost of my grande iced skim caramel machiatto is the cost of someone else’s dignity.

I’m not okay with that.

My first trip to Ecuador was full of experiences I’ll never forget and I’m thankful for it. As crazy and cliché as it sounds, I truly believe it’s changed me.

It’s my job to shine a light on all the injustice in the world and to show you how your dollars can are truly change the lives of others.

It’s a really big assignment and I know I can’t help everyone, but doing something is better than doing nothing.

And never in my life have I felt so helpless, yet so hopeful, which is a paradigm I’m still trying to process.

To support the women at Casa Adalia please Donate

Participant/Discovery Payment Schedule

Deposit/Payments Timeline

Immediate deposit, to confirm booking $100 per participant (non-refundable)
120-59 days prior to departure 50% of total
60 days prior to departure paid in full
If booking is made 60 or less days, total payment is required.

Cancellation Policies

  • $100 per participant deposit is non-refundable
  • Before 120 Days, any funds paid, except for the non-refundable deposit will be refunded
  • 120-61 days prior to booking date: 50% is refundable
  • 60 days or less prior to booking date: 100% non-refundable.*

Notes and exceptions:

  • A written e-mail notification should be sent to Education Equals Hope in order to receive any sort of refund. Cancellation policies may change due to the policies of certain hotels, restaurants, etc. Other administrative fees or spent costs may be applied to penalty fees. No refunds will be given for unused meals, housing, airport transfers, etc. We strongly suggest all travelers look for travel insurance (which is separate from medical traveler’s insurance which is mandatory).
  • If it is 60 days or less prior to arrival please contact E=H for a consideration of refunding funds; we will consider each situation case by case.
  • We highly recommend all passengers to acquire travel insurance prior to traveling (which is separate from medical traveler’s insurance which is mandatory).

Group Leader:

In order to streamline the payment process and communications, the group should choose one or two individuals to organize payments and act as the official liaison(s) between the group and E=H. All group payments must be organized by the group leader and sent in one packet, and in one lump sum.  We do understand that this can be difficult in some situations, please contact E=H for further assistance.  info@educationequalshope.org

Late Payment:

If you are unable to make a final payment on time, 60 days prior to departure, you will be charged $85 and should send in the Deposit Slip stating that the payment will be late and a check for $85.  The late payment policy is created to encourage Hope on the Ground teams to make final payments on or before 60 days prior to departure to help team site host recover costs incurred due to expediting funds to site location.

If you are unable to make another payment 30 days prior to the departure date, you may be charged another $85 to Education Equals Hope.  Please contact info@educationequalshope.org with any questions you may have.

How to Pay

Please send the payment slip and check to:

Education Equals Hope

102 Academy Street

Fort Mill, SC 29715

Inclusions: Depending on the country, some inclusions will vary program by program. However, the following will always be included: lodging, transportation, meals in country and service charges, service of local English/Spanish/Haitian speaking host during the program.

Exclusions: International travel to the site, meals in the airports prior to and after the program,  extra beverages (unless specified), tips for drivers, or international health insurance (unless specified).

 

Edward Nyongesa Kwanusu

Edward’s father died when he was 8. A few years later, he dropped out of school to nurse his ailing mother on her sick bed until her death when he was 12. As an orphan with no one to pay his tuition and fees, Edward could not return to school. He did housework for money until he began working in a bakery. After three years, he saved enough money to return to school. His goal was always to earn a degree from a university, even though life threw challenges his way.

After finishing grade eight, he received a call inviting him to Gilgal High School, where children like Edward who could not afford to attend secondary school could continue their educations. After his Gilgal graduation, Edward continued to Mount Kenya University where he graduated with a social work degree. He now gives back to his Alma Mater, Gilgal High School, by serving as a history and religious education teacher.  He also established Doors of Hope.  As an orphan and educated at Gilgal High School he wanted to help orphans, especially street kids.  Founded with the help of Whatever, where he teaches the children to transition from the street to ‘life’ in a home that supplies food and a place to live.  E=H supports the students at Doors of Hope, where Edward currently cares for 5 students.  Edward was given hope, and you can help others like him find their potential and become leaders.

Roselene Duclaire, St. Jean Baptiste School, Savanette, Haiti

(Roselene on left in photo; Her sister in photo on right.)

Roselene is a hopeful young girl at St. Jean Baptiste School in Savanette, Haiti. She started at SJBS when she was 7. She performed well and is now in fourth grade. Her favorite subject is math, and she dreams of one day becoming an engineer. She wants to build a house; she currently lives in her thatched-roof home (damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016) with five family members.

Always willing to help, she brings water for her family and does her chores. Education is important to her, as well, and she always does her homework. Beyond this, she cares for the goat that she received from SJBS’s goat program in February, 2017 (the goat program offers orphans and poor families a chance to improve their finances).

Her life is not easy, as she and her household struggle to eat and maintain their shelter. However, Roselene has a cheerful smile and great optimism for her future. The education, daily meal, and goat that she receives from SJBS has given her the chance to improve her family’s finances and to dream of a bright future as an engineer.

 

Jim Brutus, Les Cayes, Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and one of the poorest in the world. This is the story of one of the citizens, Jimmy Brutus.  He was given hope in a desperate and difficult situation. When Jimmy was six, his mother died and never having met his father, was sent to live with his aunt, uncle and three cousins with his brother.  Unfortunately, grief followed him.  Nine years later “darkness started and the bridge of hope collapsed” he said after his uncle died.  His aunt, with 5 children in the home, didn’t have money to buy food or send the children to school.  Jimmy was lost in grief, without hope… out of school from September until the end of April.  (Picture: Jimmy and his Mom)

One day, when playing soccer on a playground, a priest asked him why he wasn’t in school.  Jimmy told the priest that his aunt didn’t have money to buy a uniform or books for him to go to school.  The priest told him to go to St. Saviour School the next day to talk with him.  When Jimmy went to see the priest, he was told that there were only two months remaining in the school year, but if he studied hard and passed the year end exams, he could receive a scholarship for the next year.  It seemed impossible to learn the entire year’s worth of learning, but Jimmy was given hope for his situation.  He passed that year and he was given a scholarship the following year, Jimmy continued to study hard and was given much hope until he finished University studies at BTI, the Business Technical Institute in Les Cayes. Jimmy is now the Onsite Coordinator in Les Cayes, Haiti for Education Equals Hope.  His philosophy: “Trust in God, and he will find a way.  Tomorrow the sun will shine.” (Picture below: Jimmy Brutus today. )