Nearly 2 years ago, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador, forever changing the lives of thousands. Some lost their loved ones, others lost their homes, others lost hope. Hearts of Gold, along with grassroots organizers on the ground, has been dedicated to sustainable solutions in order to transform the lives of the individuals and families affected by the earthquake.
We were there on April 16, 2016 to collect & deliver urgent items – food, water, medical supplies, boots – which helped impacted families get through the disaster alive. We were there months later, supporting transitional housing and the emotional healing of the 35 families living at Proyecto Saman. And then, when the storm began to calm, we were there to help place families find permanent homes. Your contributions made it possible that Luis, Evelina, and their family have a place to call home. Now, thanks to a grant from Global Giving, three more homes have been built and repaired, giving hope for a better future to our brave Ecuadorian brothers and sisters. Learn more about the three new families that benefited from this phase of the project:
- Lorena suffers from severe mental illnesses, which makes it virtually impossible for her to hold a job and receive a steady source of income. She has also become distant with her family and community because her episodes sometimes become violent. After the earthquake in April 2016, she found refuge at the temporary relief camp, Camp Samán, for over one year. Once the camp closed, she moved her shelter to her land where she currently resides. With the help of volunteers of Proyecto Samán, she has electricity. Lorena received a pre-fab home made by a local Ecuadorian business called, Casitas CAEMBA. The home is made of sustainable, local bamboo and wood. The home is 35 m2 and is semi-elevated, which will provide safety from possible ﬂooding during the tropical rainy season. She will also received a sanitary system, separate from the home.
- Ramona lived and worked in Spain for many years sending all of her savings to her family in Ecuador. She managed to save enough money to build her home in Canoa, Ecuador for her and her family. Unfortunately, the 2016 earthquake damaged her home so severely that it couldn’t be repaired. She was left with no savings and no home. She has been living in a makeshift tent since that time. Ramona Salazar received a pre-fab home made by a local Ecuadorian business called, Casitas CAEMBA. The home is made of sustainable, local bamboo and is 35 m2. This model does not have a ﬂoor and Ramona’s sons will pour her a concrete ﬂoor.
- Rocío and Segundo are small business owners who invested their life savings to build a hostal, restaurant and small corner store. The building was also their home. The 2016 earthquake severely damaged their home and businesses and for reasons unknown, did not receive support from the Ecuadorian government to cover the costs of the repairs. They are a resourceful family and have not sat idly by waiting for help. Immediately after the earthquake they began putting their life back together and ﬁnding ways to create an income again. They have been able to repair some of the damage but still had more to do. The interior walls needed to be taken out in order to ﬁx the structural damage to the support posts and beams and with this donation, they were able to repair the walls as well as other parts of the building. All building materials and labor came from local sources.
Proyecto Saman has been a dear partner of Hearts of Gold for nearly two years. As families from the camp have all attained housing security, Proyecto Saman closes the last chapter of their long journey of serving victims of the natural disaster with compassion, love, and truly pure hearts of gold. Families in Canoa will be able to sleep better knowing they have a stable roof over their heads and a place to call home again.
We would like to thank you for being part of this mission and for making all of this work possible. We will officially close the Proyecto Saman page on Global Giving, content knowing that over the last two years thousands received support they critically needed and that 4 families have homes, all thanks to you.
Please continue to follow us on Facebook to see more photos and news from the families in Canoa. If you are looking to continue supporting Hearts of Gold and our network of nonprofits in Cuenca, we encourage you to visit our Community Assistance Program page or to sign up to our newsletter.