National Hispanic Heritage Month: FFTP Donors Provide New Water System Praised by Families in Las Queseras, Ecuador
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 9, 2023) –Treated water is now available to families in Las Queseras, Ecuador, through a new storage, treatment, and distribution system providing consistent access to one of life’s most basic necessities.
The community recently celebrated the inauguration of the new system with the Legado Foundation, Food For The Poor’s (FFTP) in-country partner overseeing the project.
Today, FFTP recognizes the rich culture and traditions of Ecuador as the charity marks National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and charts a course for helping families in need thrive there for generations to come.
Earlier this year, FFTP donors responded to a call for action on World Water Day and raised funds to build the water treatment project.
Las Queseras community members participated in the work to install the water system, digging the trenches, carrying the materials to the site and burying the pipes that will bring water to them and their families. The community also received training on how to operate the new system, which is benefiting 840 residents who had been exposed to illness from drinking untreated water.
Lisbeth, a community member, thanked the foundation and Food For The Poor for providing access to treated water and for training on proper sanitation and hygiene.
“Before we didn’t have any clean water. Instead, we relied on small hoses,” Lisbeth said. “We had malnutrition in our children not knowing it was caused by the water.”
In 2022, FFTP added Ecuador to the list of countries it is focusing on in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Las Queseras is a Kichwa community located more than 10,500 feet above sea level on the slopes of the Chimborazo volcano in the Andes Mountains. Most of Las Queseras is supplied with water, but the system has deteriorated and frequently leaks, leading to contamination. It is not suitable for drinking.
Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and poliomyelitis are prevalent because residents are consuming unsafe water. The situation has led to chronic childhood malnutrition.
FFTP Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Vivian Borja, who was born and raised in Ecuador, said one of many needs in Ecuador is access to treated water, especially in the indigenous communities that are the most marginalized.
“Our strategy of working with partners is allowing our donors to transform more lives,” Borja said. “Perhaps even more important, this project will be sustainable because the community has been trained and strengthened in their capacity to manage, organize, and empower themselves on the importance of maintaining a treated water supply and guaranteeing the precious gift of water for generations to come.”
Because of the new water system, Lisbeth added families’ whole lives have improved. “Our health is going to improve. Now that we constantly have water running in our homes, we spend more time with our children and cooking,” she said.
Food For The Poor is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with a Facebook challenge and inviting everyone to join a special Facebook group where you can participate in fun and engaging posts about Hispanic culture. Additionally, there is the option to join in with fundraising for Latin American children. Join the challenge by clicking: https://www.facebook.com/groups/878738036917877/
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.