Ambato and its greater metropolitan area have a total population of 360,000. As an economic center, the region attracts many migrants from rural vicinities and faces significant social inequality. Local poverty and unemployment rates have caused a rise in social and domestic troubles among children and teens, including soaring drug use, physical and sexual abuse and human trafficking of adolescents.
Jovenes Para El Futuro’s work consists primarily of enforcing the rights of youth and their families.
The association’s “Family House” shelters teenage girls ages 12 to 17 who have been victims of sexual and physical abuse and human trafficking. At the Family House, girls can begin rebuilding a normal life, resume their studies and construct a future. They also receive psychological, social and educational assistance.
As part of a program backed by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Jovenes Para El Futuro also closely tracks youth and families affected by drug addiction.
Provide comprehensive support to sexually-abused girls and drug-addicted youth
In 2013 Ecuador organised its first International Solidarity Week, only in Quito. In 2014, four association from the Une Option de Plus network put on various events for the occasion: mobilising civil society with regards to this fundamental issue is on the rise and we have even higher hopes for 2015.
In Ambato, Jovenes para el Futurowelcomed an Argentinian traveller who had something very special in her backpack.
During her trip, Natalia Bainotti met with the young Argentinians at the heart of the Calco Project.. The idea? Take a photo of yourself with a positive message: “Seek what you want most”, “Be confident”, “Appreciate life”, “Surprise yourself”. This project as already made it to all four corners of the country! The aim is to release the power of expression and creative potential of each individual through words and art. On the other hand, the goal is to also have a positive influence on the thoughts of those receiving the message thanks to the ‘the ability of words and positive thinking to change the way we see things’.
Before leaving on bike tour of Latin America, Natalia suggested the idea of painting five murals in five different countries to Calco’s founders. It is thus how the project “Five countries-Five murals’ came to be. Starting point: Ambato, Ecuador. The principle: work with organisations or local institutions in order to bring together art and social work.
In Ambato, Natalia met Jovenes para el Futuro, in particular Farnaz Khataei, french volunteer. Really interested by the project, the foundation Jovenes para el Futuro gave Natalia the opporunity to realize a mural in Ambato. But before, the Foundation had to negociate with the Local Decentralized Government and the neighbourhood president, to get the authorization to paint...one of the wall of an ex-police unity !
On Thursday 18 and Friday 19 September, Natalia met the young, recovering drug addicts in rehabilitation (who were participating in the project Atencion y Reinsercion Integral) as well as the young girls living in homes owned by the foundation. To break the ice, she organised workshops and introductory games. She opted for the theme of self-esteem in her approach to
the Calco Project.
A joint thinking session allowed the group to choose the positive message that would be painted: “Now or never”. On Saturday, the local residents came together to begin painting the wall. They were joined by two mural painters from Ibarra, Jazz Buitron and Gabi Ayala, who had heard about the project and were interested in its work. It took until Sunday afternoon to finish the mural! And what a result!
To know more about Jovenes Para el Futuro, check their website.
To read Natalia’s story about this project, check out her blog, Mi vida en una mochila (my life in a rucksack).
Translated by Malikah Alibhai
The ARI project (Awareness and Integral Reinsertion) was launched in June last year. With the support of the European Union and the United Nations Office on drugs and crime (UNODC), Jovenes para el Futuro, armed with its incredible team, help the youth of Ambato through their battle against drug addiction, be it on a social, a medical, a psychological or even a judicial scale, with the aim of facilitating the process of social reintegration and autonomy.
In order to unveil this new project, Jovenes para el Futuro chose to showcase the many talents that the people of Ambato have to offer by organising an evening of festivities. Thus, on 21 June 2014, the foundation put on a series of concerts in Ambato. The event was a huge success and attracted a crowd of all ages thanks to the diversity amongst the groups and the artists who had whole-heartedly accepted to be a part of the adventure. Information stands and games were also set up around the stage in order to raise awareness of the detrimental effects that stem from the use of illicit drugs as well as to present the ARI project to potential, future beneficiaries.
For more information about the project, do not hesitate to contact the Jovenes para el Futuro foundation who will be more than happy to answer for questions (Fundacion Jovenes para el Futuro, Calle y Granaderos Antonio Pineda, tras del estadio del Colegio Guayaquil, Ambato, +593 (0) 32852774).
Translated by Malikah Alibhai
Fundación Jóvenes para el Futuro was invited, among other organisations, on the basis of its Project “Social, family, and community integration of children and adolescents living on the streets, and victims of any type of abuse and exploitation. Fundación Jóvenes para el Futuro was one of the organisations to receive an Innovation Award for its Project.
In addition to the awarding of prizes to the organisations, various workshops were held by the responsable parties and representatives of Grupo Faro, la Fundación É-ducate, Roberto Gónez of the Andean Parliament and the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the Chambers of Production of Azuay. The following themes were addressed: “Civil society: a space for innovation” and “Civil society: company and state - key actors for governability”.
A video was screened that presented the basic characteristics of the eleven organisations to win the prize. Then the prizes were awarded and, finally, the mini fair took place in which it was intended that each organisation meet the rest and present their projects, with the hope of finding possible opportunities for coordination.
Translated by Glen Smith
From the 11th February to the end of march 2013, ten engineering students from a school in Paris, who are also members of their school band, the ‘Babel Brass Band’ came to Jovenes Para el Futuro to share their passion for music with the beneficiaries.
For our ten volunteers, this Equatorian adventure began in the town of Ambato at the premise of the Jovenes Para El Futuro association. Over the next 5 weeks, the group and the children of the association worked together to develop a performance comprising of theatre and musical groups.
The story was as follows: Daniel, an elephant without a trunk is chased out of Africa and undertakes a long journey to the Amazon to find a solution to his problem.
With the help of costumes designed by the children and instruments made from recycled material, the story came to life on the 19th March before a large and admiring public who had come for the occasion.
September 26 has been established as the annual “Day for the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy,” a day when actions are taken to promote sexual health.
Over the last decade, the pregnancy rate amongst young adolescents under the age of 15 has increased by 76%, and in the over-15 age group, by 9%. Amongst these girls, 37 in every 100 pregnancies are neither planned nor wanted.
In Ambato, a prevention campaign was carried out in Montalvo Park, organized by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion and the Ministry of Health. Various public bodies participated, including Fundación “Jovenes para el Futuro,” which participated in the activities for the prevention of teen pregnancy.
Students and adolescents from schools in the city also attended. These young people took part in diverse activities on the prevention of teenage pregnancies and about making responsible, informed, and free decisions regarding whether or not to have children, how many to have, and how to choose an appropriate time in their lives to have them.
Along with its program of providing accommodation and educational support, the “Jóvenes para el Futuro” Foundation intends to provide support for young girls and adolescents who are pregnant or already mothers.
The 8th August, 2012, the “Jóvenes para el Futuro” foundation had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Civilino Cazar, a volunteer member of the Oberle Foundation, who visited in order to present and explain how a community fund works.
A community fund is an informal project. It involves the creation of a fund by responsible and trustworthy partners. These people manage the fund together, giving individuals in poverty the opportunity to do business and receive income directly from the fund. The Oberle Foundation has already pledged to provide technical support for the creation of 50 community funds in Ecuador.
As Mr. Civilino explained, since the US dollar was adopted as Ecuador's legal currency, a question has arisen: what can we do economically to improve our situation and that of the community?
The community fund project could provide a solution to the double challenge facing the Foundation: how to make the foundation self-sufficient financially, and how to improve the living standards of the parents of the children and adolescents it serves.
Since June 2012, the Foundation "Jóvenes para el Futuro” has engaged in a reflection process on its activities, operation and donations in order to strengthen its support for the children and adolescents of the Ambato area. From this initiative arose new lines of action to develop.
For example, professionals had the idea of implementing a very special sponsorship program. This program, called Una aula, un padrino , is aimed at all schools, colleges, high schools for both Ecuadorians and foreigners wishing to promote the values of solidarity, compromise and interculturalism.
The principle of the program is very simple: one school or classroom sponsors the Isabel Vasconez School through events, concerts, exhibitions and fundraising. Not only does it allow the students of the school to contribute to the scholarisation of children and teenagers with problems of living on the street, victims of abuse, sexual or labour exploitation, and those with special needs, but it also helps the teachers raise awareness of child rights and of the situation of children and adolescents throughout the world.
This program is available today online on the website of the Foundation “Jóvenes para el Futuro” as well as other communication and organisation activities aimed at the children.
Jovenes Para El Futuro is situated at an altitude of 2,577 meters in the city of Ambato, which is located in central Ecuador and is the capital of Tungurahua province. The population of the city is 180,000 and that of its entire county is 360,000 (according to a 2010 census by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses), making Ambato the ninth biggest city in Ecuador in terms of population.
Women and children in extremely poor families are often subject to physical and sexual violence. In 1992, association director Eduardo Hidalgo decided to found an organization to address the issue.
Jovenes Para El Futuro opened its doors that year and soon became a shelter for many victims seeking refuge, including homeless children, the association’s main target at the time it was created. A primary school began operating in 1995, and in 1997 it was decided that parents should play a role in their students’ education, a policy shift marked by a symbolic monetary requirement.
Today, the federal government oversees youth education, rendering the school superfluous. It closed in September 2014, and the association is now focused on helping sexually-abused girls and drug-addicted youth.
Calle Granaderos y Antonio Pineda- across from the Colegio Guayaquil stadium - Barrio Bellavista - AmbatoAmbato
Office: +593 (0)3 28 52 774
The organization’s team includes social workers and psychologists who use their experience and expertise to help homeless children navigate the difficulties inherent to childhood and the teenage years and cope with the poverty of their families and relatives.
Help youth and families in the Ambato region attain a better quality of life.
SO1. Take in and provide assistance to sexually-abused girls ages 12 to 17.
SO2. Provide comprehensive support to drug-addicted youth and help them find employment.
SO3. Strengthen family bonds to help teens live and grow in a stable, loving environment.
For Specific Objective 1:
Family House shelter
Extracurricular activities: art and dance lessons, athletics
Legal, social, psychological, medical and educational assistance
For Specific Objective 2:
Individual and group therapy for drug-addicted youth
Training in computers, marketing and microbusiness management
For Specific Objective 3:
Visits, support and follow-up by social workers, psychologists and specialized educators for families of youth at the Family House and in the ARI program.
1. Acogimiento Institucional. This children’s home hosted more than 25 children and teens in 2011. Thanks to the staff’s excellent work, most of the children were able to return to their families. Today, only four girls live in the Family House shelter.
2. Proyecto ARI. This program had around 60 participants in 2014, most of whom were moderate to heavy users of marijuana, crack and cocaine, barbiturates, aerosols and other illegal drugs.