SALEM Ecuador is a childrens, youth and community center located in the small town of Mindo, in the cloud forest on the western side of the Ecuadorian Andes.
Our center is a place where children can enjoy their childhood, learn, play, and be accepted as part of a loving community.
We care for the most underprivileged and at risk children and young people of the village. We offer them loving care and help to find solutions to their most urgent problems.
We are passionate about providing excellent child care, education and social services!
Our Environment: Mindo
Mindo has been declared a a world heritage Biosphere and the tourism sector is growing steadily. Tourism provides many local people with employment opportunities, better living standards and hope for a better way of life. Tourism in turn also attracts poor families from other parts of the country.
For many, their dreams and expectations do not come true and their social dislocation combined with poverty leads to further problems and conflict.
When poverty and a lack of perspective are determining factors within a family this often leads to alcoholism, addictions and violence. In this situation it is the children, the weakest members of the family, who suffer the most. Young pregnancies mean single mothers are often abandoned by the children‘s fathers and the grandparents then have to take care of many grandchildren.
Since 1999, SALEM Ecuador has been working on breaking the vicious circle of poverty, low standards of living, lack of education and lack of economic opportunities by giving children and young adults the opportunity to receive education and care within a progressive, loving environment.
SALEM is now an important member of the local community and nationally recognised as a provider of excellent childcare, education and social services for children, youths and their families in the local community.
Childcare & Education
SALEM offers after school day care with a variety of activities for socially underprivileged children. Our team of professionals are always on hand to listen, to comfort and to help. Our goal is to strengthen self-confidence and independence and promote respectful relations within the group.
We help the children and teenagers to complete their homework, pass their exams and graduate in state education. We also provide high quality Montessori based and alternative learning material to help the children further develop their abilities beyond the school curriculum.
Music and dance classes, as well as other cultural activities are an important part of our daily activities. We believe that music, arts and cultural activities are an essential part of a good education, to develop creativity and for healthy personal development. Arts and crafts activities are an integral part of the after school group activities. We currently provide guitar lessons, choral groups and music ensemble training and regular performance opportunities.
We support our adolescents with the planning of their future, health care, workshops on sex education and contraception, as well as weekly meetings for young parents.
A world full of new challenges is waiting for our youth. We continue to support them in their vocational and academic education with preparatory courses and stipendiums to enable each young person to achieve their dreams and become an empowered proactive member of society
Social Work & Family counselling
Working closely with the families of our children is highly important to us. Our qualified staff are there to talk about all kinds of problems and actively seek dialogue with parents and guardians. We work proactively with families to find solutions to problems which affect our children.
Ecology, Health & Nutrition
We provide our children with varied vegetarian meals and snacks. We offer cooking classes for our adolescents. All our children help in the kitchen on a daily basis and learn that a tasty healthy diet can be fun. In our small ecological garden we grow medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables and experiment with self-sufficiency to awaken the children‘s interest in gardening and ecology.
Over the years we have invested in a fully functional sewing workshop. Our children participate in sewing workshops to learn a useful life skill. The sewing workshop also functions as a community center for local woman where they have the chance to learn the essential skills of a new profession. Our professional seamstress provides training to participants as well as providing real life experience through the fulfilment of small commercial orders for handmade clothes, bedsheets and other items.
Since its inception SALEM Ecuador has been funded through the very generous, long term contributions of our donors! The easiest and most effective way to support us is to make an online donation.
We would be very happy if you want to visit us personally and get to know our project. Contact us if you would like to know more about visiting us or to arrange a date for a tour.
Volunteering at SALEM Ecuador
We are always looking for motivated people who are eager to contribute to our work with the children. If you feel called to personaly contribute to the success of our work we offer a limited number of volunteering opportunities each year. Further information about volunteering at SALEM Ecuador can be found here
About SALEM International
SALEM Ecuador is a Project of SALEM International which is a non-denominational Christian non- profit welfare organisation. At present, SALEM employs about 130 people in Germany as well as some 250 others engaged on different projects worldwide such as SALEM Ecuador. It was founded in 1957 by Gottfried Müller and a circle of friends.
All of the SALEM projects are affliated through the shared values of peace and helping those in need. In this way SALEM is actively working in global hotspots to help people in difficult situations regardless of their beliefs or nationality. Our support ranges from social, environmental and health issues to nutrition, education and development assistance.
At SALEM our experience has taught us the importance of commmitting to a project for the long term That is why all of our projects are permanent and receive continuous support.
SALEM is probably the oldest Western vegetarian welfare organisation. From the beginning all our projects and establishments have only offered only vegetarian cuisine. We believe in respect for all life and that no living creature should be harmed.
More information on http://www.saleminternational.org