Quito (Ecuador) The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Sacred Heart Province (ECU) launch a project to provide good food and basic necessities for families in situations of poverty and vulnerability in 12 cities of Ecuador, to tackle the health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the end of February 2020, Ecuador confirmed the first coronavirus case in the country, quickly becoming the third country in Latin America, after Brazil and Chile, due to the highest number of infections and deaths from Covid-19. The coronavirus pandemic has also dealt a severe blow to the world economy, especially for countries with high poverty rates. In Ecuador many families have low incomes, are without stable jobs, or engage in informal activities, that is, not regulated by contract. Often these are extended families, on average composed of 4 to 6 members, and live on a single salary.
Taking into account the socio-economic context and the spread of the epidemic, the FMA decided to allocate aid to 600 families (about 3000 people) linked to 15 works directed by the FMA Communities, located in 11 locations in the country: Guayaquil, Guasmo, Playas, Quito, San Juan – Cumbayá, Rumiñahui, Manta, Cuenca, Riobamba, Macas, Loja, Calvas, Julio Andrade. Given that Guayaquil and Quito are the provinces that have recorded the highest number of cases, and also the cities with the highest percentage of informal work and unemployment, the FMA have chosen to favor a greater number of families from these two cities. This also allows to help contain the spread of the virus in both cities and protect the health of those who do not have the means to stay at home. In this way, an attempt is made to reduce exposure to infection and to ensure a nutritious diet that helps defend against the virus.
Immediately, the FMA responded to the emergency with the distribution of food, cleaning products, and basic necessities. The project also provides for two other ways to reach families: a financial transfer to a service point that allows the withdrawal of cash for local aid, ensuring that there are no movements of the beneficiaries of the project who can thus have access to shops and small and medium-sized enterprises, also favoring these distributors suffering from the crisis. The delivery of a card with a quota of $50 per month for the purchase of basic necessities in local affiliated supermarkets. In both cases, a database was created for the heads of families of the recipient families, on whose behalf the financial transfer or the card takes place, assigned only with the presentation of the identity document.
The FMA have been in Ecuador for 117 years, with a large presence in the country, both from a geographical point of view, and regarding the number of houses and works they promote, including: schools, youth centers and activities for the protection and the promotion of women, temporary shelters for girls and adolescents at risk, spaces for value formation and to promote the correct use of free time, artisan workshops and professional training, missions in the Amazon Region (with the Shuar population), missions in high altitude (with the Kichwa population) and in the peripheries, and other activities.