March 2022: Spring Learn & Serve Retreats at SIFAT

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator

During March, our SIFAT calendar is beginning to remind of us pre-COVID-19 days. We are seeing lots of green—the color designated for Learn & Serve events on our staff calendar—on the large dry erase boards in the office hallway. While working, our office staff hears shouts and cheers drifting across campus, and we see groups of students walking past our windows on their way to the cafeteria for lunch. These simple things lift our spirits and make us realize that we have been missing the hub of activity that spring brings to our campus more than we realized!

Our Learn & Serve programming can be customized for different types of groups and various ages. Already this year, we have hosted an Around the World field trip and multi-day retreat for middle school classes, Global Health Days for college nursing students, a tour for youth leaders making plans to bring a group later this year and a retreat with work projects and programming for a mission team unable to travel internationally. At the end of the month, we will have three youth groups on campus for spring break retreats. For our small campus staff, the days are long, but the rewards are great!

 

We are enjoying our spring Learn & Serve retreat groups at SIFAT!


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October 2021: Final Phase of Construction in Aida Leon

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

The long-awaited dream of having a safe place for the children of Aida Leon is about to become a reality. When SIFAT could no longer travel to Ecuador in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID pandemic, Esperanza Eterna’s Pastor Wilson realized that the church community center our SIFAT teams had been building for two years would be put on hold and not completed when the children of Aida Leon needed it the most. SIFAT donors  did not allow that to happen!

In the best of times, Aida Leon is one of the poorest communities in Quito. As in most marginalized barrios, the children suffer the most when the parents have no work, the schools are closed and even two meals a day is often a luxury. During this time of shutdown, many have been displaced from their homes, and child abuse increases drastically. The promise of a day care center for children, where they could be safe and have a hot meal, seemed a long way in the future.

The final phase of construction in Aida Leon has included pouring the roof, adding stairs, laying the exterior walls on the second floor and building the interior walls. This photo shows the progress as of September 2021.


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September 2021: Interns Complete Internship at our Central American Training Center in Costa Rica

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

For the past three months, eight interns from Honduras have been working and studying with SIFAT at our Central American Training Center in Costa Rica. They had finished their classes at the National Agricultural University in Honduras, but they had to do a senior project before they received their degrees. They came to Costa Rica to build their projects on our campus, so that we could use them in future training sessions. After working during the day, they received SIFAT training at night and on rainy days. It was a win-win situation. Both the interns and SIFAT benefited greatly from this three-month session.

Our interns from Honduras participate in team building exercises at our training center in Costa Rica.


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August 2021: Ecuador’s Children – the Hidden Pandemic

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Roberto and Monica Contreras, SIFAT Ecuador directors

School closures have affected 4.6 million children in Ecuador. There are children and adolescents who are in vulnerable conditions in their homes and face threats such as maltreatment and sexual abuse.

According to official statistics, 1 in 10 women in Ecuador was a victim of sexual abuse as a child or adolescent. More than half of the 17 million Ecuadorians are women.

The actual level of child abuse is more serious than official statistics reveal, as 1 in 4 victims in Ecuador “never” reported it. The victims remained silent out of fear of the consequences, out of shame, out of helplessness or out of fear of threats.

At several of our project sites in Quito, including Velasco pictured above, workshops for children and youth were held recently to combat sexual abuse. Please pray for these Ecuadorian children—the hidden victims of the pandemic.


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July 2021: An Update from Isaiah in the DRC

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder

SIFAT’s graduate Isaiah Chot has worked for years rescuing children who were kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Because they have been brainwashed to kill and experienced unimaginable trauma, it is hard to rehabilitate them. Their own families are afraid of them and often do not want them to return. Isaiah started a rehabilitation ministry for these former child soldiers and other abandoned, hopeless children. Dedicated volunteers joined his effort, showing the children God’s love as they taught job training and life skills.

Beginning in 2017, SIFAT helped Isaiah finish his vocational school buildings, so they could accept homeless youth who had no other hope of finding a better life. SIFAT Graduates’ Projects (GPC) also worked with Isaiah to buy a cement block making machine both as  a teaching tool for the students and as a business they could use to help make the school sustainable. Now, they are able to accept 50 students each session. These youth work together learning and practicing farming/gardening, so that there is food for all of them, as well as some to sell for their other needs. Isaiah says they are taught the principles of gardening that he learned from SIFAT’s expert gardener, John Carr. This knowledge is constantly being passed on to others and has brought hope and freedom from hunger to hundreds in Isaiah’s programs. The school is staffed with dedicated professional teachers, as well as community volunteers, who help the students one-on-one. They have added courses in business, construction/masonry, tailoring/sewing, welding, food preservation and other classes teaching skills that their communities need.

Young students visit the garden.


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