Children's, Youth &
Community Center

“SALEM is my second home”


Christmas time is often not easy for the SALEM children. It should be a family celebration, but it’s often not so easy at home.

Juan (15), Martín (10) and Sabina (8) live with their mother in a small, dark, and musty room. A few months ago, they fled gang violence from the province of Esmeraldas in north-eastern Ecuador to Mindo. The mother has found work in a hotel kitchen, but the working hours are long and irregular, and she has not been paid for three months. The children are often home alone until late in the evening as their mother works overtime.

SALEM has donated them some second-hand furniture and kitchen utensils, blankets, and food. They don’t have much else. In such a tense family situation, we often find domestic violence.

The three children now come to SALEM every day and receive a delicious lunch and age-appropriate activities. Even if they are only at SALEM “for a few hours a day”, it has already become a second home for them. Here they find caregivers who accept them for who they are, talk to them respectfully and listen to them.

To be able to offer support to more of these vulnerable children and teenagers, our new building urgently needs to be completed. It is progressing well, but we are still $10,000 short of completion. The roof and the floor on the first floor should be finished by December so that Juan can celebrate Christmas there with his siblings and the other SALEM children.

If we had all the funding, it would be possible to complete the building by March. Walls, stairs, the floor of the upper floor, windows, doors, sanitary facilities, and the electrical installation are still missing.

The entire architectural work and construction supervision were donated to us by the architect (approx. $10,000). The electrician will also donate his time and materials (approx. 1,500 $). He himself grew up as a street kid in Quito and was able to get an education and set up his own company thanks to the help of social institutions. “I want to give something back,” he told us in a conversation.

We are very grateful for this gesture and recognition and would ask you to make a small contribution towards a happy Christmas for Juan, Martín and Sabina. SALEM can give those vulnerable children hope and helps them grow into loving, independents and responsible adults.


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