Proyecto Samán

Proyecto Samán is a grassroots initiative focused on helping families who survived the devastating 7.8 earthquake that rocked the northern coast of Ecuador in April of 2016.  Working with international and Ecuadorian groups, organizations, volunteers and citizens, our mission is to transform a vulnerable situation into a healthy community by providing opportunities that build dignified and sustainable lives.

Two weeks after the earthquake, our Proyecto Samán team arrived in Canoa, Ecuador and within just one month we successfully identified families in need and built Camp Samán, our sustainable relief camp.  50 shelters, 16 showers, 12 ecological bathrooms, a community kitchen, dispensary for donations, community center, learning center and organic community gardens have been built to serve the direct needs of 133 people.  36 families in total have received help from Camp Samán services.

To date, nearly half of our families have received the help and support they need to be able to move out of Camp Samán and back home!  20 families remain and most of them do not own land and do not meet the requirements for government programs.

We have implemented four programs to ensure the families of Samán can successfully transition out of the camp and into a safe and sustainable way of life.  These programs are: Sustainable Housing, Small Business Initiatives & Livelihood Training, Continued Education, Outreach.

Our Sustainable Housing Program provides families accepted into the program the opportunity to buy a small lot of land to start a sustainable micro-farm.  They will also be integral participants in conservation and reforestation efforts in the area. To be a part of the program, each family must adhere to strict requirements.  For example, they must complete hours of environmental and sustainable farming courses and at least one member of each family must be part of the construction crew and help build their neighbor’s home as well as their own.  Many of these families have never owned land nor a home.  We have the honor of providing an opportunity that many saw as an unreachable dream!

During this dynamic process of getting to know the families and individuals who live at Camp Samán, a level of confidence and friendship has been made.  This has allowed us to initiate a series of small business initiatives and livelihood training course options based on the needs and the interests of the families of Samán as well as those living in the surrounding area.  Courses that will be starting in 2017 are Certified Auto Mechanics, how-to-build furniture and household items out of bamboo and wood, culinary arts and tourism.  For most, this will be their first opportunity to receive the tools needed to bring economic stability to their family and a chance to make their dreams a reality.

Our Continued Education Program offers the families of Samán, as well as those in the surrounding areas, receive the educational support that many of them have been lacking long before the earthquake.  Early readers, English, art, sports and adult education classes take place in our Learning Center and provide opportunities that allow these families to acquire the skills they need to have a more successful future.

Proyecto Samán’s Outreach Program brings much needed help to the outlying areas where it was either slow in coming or didn’t come at all. The people affected in those areas are unable to live at Camp Samán due to the distance so they are forced to live in conditions that are unsanitary, unsafe and oftentimes void of hope.  Volunteers and families living at Camp Samán go to these areas and distribute much needed goods and services.  It has been a very valuable aspect of Proyecto Samán because it not only helps families in need but has also given the families of Samán the opportunity to transform from earthquake survivors to volunteers!  To date, our Outreach Program has serviced 6 different areas and has provided help to more than 1000 people!

Proyecto Samán is a dynamic and exciting project and we are thrilled by all that we have accomplished with so many helping hands from all over the world.  Together we are empowering people and helping them transform a vulnerable environment into a safe and sustainable way of life!

For more information, please visit our website

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