Muncy Chapter writes grant for mission project in Ecuador
MUNCY – Working with global mission projects is a mainstay for the Muncy Rotary Club. Personal connections with Ecuador, gave Rotary member, Susana Falck, an opportunity to share some experiences helping others with life skills they otherwise may not have known.
A trip to Quito Norte, the capital city of Ecuador this past February took Susana and some fellow members from Lycoming County to help a group of young adolescent females learn how to be successful in the job market.
Many of these girls are from abused families according to Falck who has made several visits there trying to help them survive in a repressed economy that is densely populated. “They are in an area where human trafficking is prominent,” she said.
With help from non-profits in Germany and the United States, a shelter was built, and 12 to 18 girls have learned to be more self-sufficient in a declining impoverished country. The center is called Caminos de Esperanza which means “the road to hope” explained Falck. At the center the girls learn how to make delectable pastries made from baking equipment purchased with the help of the Muncy Rotary.
Susana first met with the director of the facility in 2014, Mrs. Thekan Amen, a German citizen who lives in Ecuador, to see what was needed. The center provides schooling, a psychologist, and a lot of compassion according to the women.
The girls can stay at the center until they are 18. At that time they are required to get employment. Susana says she visits at least once a year to help with their progress. Falck’s family is from Ecuador and she has taken an interest in assisting the girls to learn how to cook and prepare the pastries which are then sold to help with their finances at the center. The center itself was donated and built in Germany.
“We used a district community grant,” Falck said that came from a service project through the Muncy Rotary. Other funding sources came from some of the local churches and other Rotary clubs. A total of $8500 was raised. Assisting Falck in February on the mission were Father Brian Van Fossen, Rosalie Kaleda, and Annie McDermott from St. Joseph the Worker in Williamsport and Father Glenn McCreary from the Church of Resurrection in Muncy, PA.
Other Rotary Clubs helping with the district community international grant were Montoursville and Williamsport and the Rotary Ladies Auxiliary in Quito Norte. Funds were raised to purchase baking equipment and supplies, crafting tools, industrial appliances, stainless steel tables and sewing equipment for the young residents. “We also bought 100 pounds of flour and sugar,” Falck added. Pastries and bread are a big part of Ecuador’s lifestyle, and just about every neighborhood has a pastry shop according to Falck. “And 5 o’clock is always tea time.”
The Foundation Center in Ecuador is the Talita Kumi Foundation Center which protects the girls between the ages of 12 and 19 who are often pregnant and have no support. It means “Girl up!” said Falck. “These girls are sheltered from violence, abuse and neglect. These donated tools and equipment will be used to train residents for years to come.” Overall this will bring positive results where economic growth is declining.
A foundation to help other countries “Sirviendo F.A.I.T.H. Foundation” was established by Falck in 2000. Besides Ecuador they have spearheaded projects in Argentina, Nicaragua, Brazil and Thailand.
“Many of these girls would never had a chance,” replied Vickie Zimmerman who helps to raise funds for the Muncy Rotary, “as many are coming from horrendous situations.” The center can house no more than 50 girls at a time, and job training is essential. Zimmerman helped with the Rotary selling french fries at Muncy’s Fourth Fridays, organizing an auction and getting private donations.
Falck plans on returning to Ecuador again this year to check on progress and to follow up with the girls as they continue to make dainty, one of a kind pastries and hopefully, “have recognized not to get back into such a situation. Working together has accomplished a lot. We took action to change their lives.”
Falck hopes to return again this summer.