Tag Archives: young people

With a little help from our friends…

For 30 years, Nancy Calle worked in adoption with some of the most vulnerable children in Ecuador. At the age of 63, when most people are preparing for retirement, she applied to register her family home as a “Casa Hogar” for children in transition. Some of the children now living here will be adopted, some will be reunited with their families once the court’s orders have been met, and a few will continue to live here, because their circumstances – or age – render them “unadoptable”.

But this is not a house of sadness.


The children at Hogar Para Todos are thriving with the support of an incredible staff, including a Clinical Psychologist working with a team of 5 interns, an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist, an Educational Psychologist, a team of specialist support workers, a Social Worker, and the “tias” of the house, who prepare meals, clean the house, ensure school uniforms are ready in the morning and much more.

At the age of 76, Nancy generally rises at 6:30 and weaves her way in and out of meetings and children and staff support until well after dinner is served. All of the children are engaged in education and both group and individualized therapy, as well as numerous other activities every week.

This is not a house of sadness.

But it is a house that has fallen on hard times. While the staff’s salaries and the food for the children are paid by social services and the provincial government, all other costs must be covered by donations: electricity, water, gas, general maintenance, toys, clothes, activities and more. The cost of this part of operations was $82,068 in 2013, $72,841 in 2014, and is projected at $63,558 for 2015.

Until this year a large percentage of the funds to cover those costs came from a Belgian partner organization that sponsored the Casa with donations from many individuals. This year, the director has retired and following the closure of this organization, the Casa has effectively lost 23,000€. For the past two years, costs have exceeded donations, and so there is currently a deficit of nearly $30,000, and it will worsen next year.

There are so many reasons to support this Casa – we have seen with our own eyes how differently it functions, how immediately one gets the sense of “home” here. But the biggest reason to support HpT is because it is invaluable to this community, where there are significant socio-economic problems leading to substance misuse, neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Whatever the future holds, in debt or with healthy finances, the existence of this place is absolutely imperative.

Our formidable leader

Our formidable leader

Nancy Calle is an extraordinary woman. But she is human, and will eventually need to pass the torch on to the next generation, who will continue the life-changing – and literally life-saving work – she began. But before she goes, she wants this house in order.

For many, $30K doesn’t sound like much, and with a little support from a lot of folks, it really isn’t. But is the world to the future of this organization. And this organization has, is, and will continue to improve the world for countless children.

If you can donate absolutely any amount at all, please go to Ammado, where with a couple of clicks you can donate any amount you wish.

And rest assured that this drive for funds is not an end-all effort. At the moment, several players are working together to ensure that in the years to come HpT’s finances are stronger than ever. The organization’s website will be launched in July, and volunteers from Holland, France, and the US are working together to fundraise in a variety of ways. One of these is developing a network of sponsors who can commit to giving a small sum every month. If this is something that might interest you, please let us know.

Group Photo

Further information is available via email in Spanish, French or English at ann.halsig.hpt@gmail.com, or in German and Dutch at w.croes@planet.nl.

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The weight of the weather upon us

For most of the time I lived in London, I worked in hostels with young people.  All of them were without a fixed address for some reason or another when they came to us.  Some were fleeing violence in their countries of origin, trying to get their status fixed as refugees and asylum-seekers.  Some were just coming out of prison, or had just come from care homes (modern-day orphanages for the bigger kids).  Some had been rough sleeping, or spending a few days on one couch and a week on another, carrying everything they owned in a backpack now tearing at its seams.  As I’ve written before, it’s never not complicated.

At any rate, there we were, staff and young people, under one roof, which was now some sort of abode.  For some of them, I know it was terrible.  For others, I think it might have been the safest place they’d ever laid their heads at night.  Everybody’s experience is different.  And all of them were different from one another.  There were young men and young women.  There were people of all ethnic backgrounds, all religions.  And while they all fell into one age category (16-25), let me tell you:  there’s a mighty big difference between 16 and 25.  About the only thing they had in common was that life had gotten really hard, really early on.

But for all the many differences among the young people living there, there were two more things they shared:  the roof over their head, and their postal code.  That last one meant a lot of things, but for purposes of this post, it meant that they shared something that affects us all so profoundly:  weather.

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Like Ampalaya with Mangga.

Last Tuesday marked the end of my visits to the local prison.  I know I’ve been more focused on explaining the development of the course…I thought that was the thing that I’d leave behind – the more “sustainable” part of my contribution – so my focus has been on that.  But the trips themselves have been more important to me than I think I realized.

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