Growing up shouldn't have to be this hard
Around 5.6 million children live in Ecuador. Although the government has introduced measures to protect the rights of children, only one in five children grows up in households free from neglect or abuse. Around eight per cent of children are forced to work, mostly on farms in rural areas and in family-owned business in cities.
The government has recently invested in education and introduced measures to encourage parents to send their children to school. Most children finish primary school, but about 20 per cent of girls do not go to secondary school.
Teenage pregnancies are high - one in five girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become mothers. The majority drop out of school, and then struggle to raise their child.
Young people find it hard to become independent. One in five young people under the age of 24 doesn't have a job. Those who do work are often paid low wages or can only find part-time employment.
SOS Children's Villages is there to help
SOS works with local organisations and the community to support vulnerable families, so that children can grow up within their own family. It ensures that families have access to food, medical care and provide daycare for young children.
If, in spite of all assistance, children can’t be taken care of by their own family, they can find a loving home in one of the six SOS Children's Villages in the country.
This October, I will be leaving my own kids behind to climb to the furthest point from the Earth’s centre to raise funds for SOS Children’s Villages in Ecuador.
Chimborazo tops out at 6,310m, almost 2,600m lower than Everest. That’s only compared to sea level though. If we take the equatorial bulge into account, Chimborazo sticks more than 2,000m further into space than any of the Himalayas do, since they’re located thousands of kilometers north of the Equator. In order to maximise the chances of reaching the summit, it is crucial to take both time and effort to acclimatise. This is why we will be starting by climbing Rumiñahui (4,721m), followed by Illiniza Norte (5,126m) and Cotopaxi (5,897m).
An incredible mountain guide, Juliana Garcia, will be guiding us throughout this expedition. Juliana is the first internationally certified female mountain guide in Latin America and passionate about making mountaineering accessible to everyone, regardless of gender.
The talented photojournalist Simon Sticker, a keen mountaineer himself, will also take part in this adventure. Simon will be documenting this journey, so that you get the chance to be with us every step of the way and see beautiful Ecuador through his lens.
You can really make a difference
We have estimated that it will take close to 10,000 steps to climb up and down all four mountains, based on assumptions such as vertical distance, time to summit, average climbing speed and time per step up. Just to give you a very rough idea of scale, it takes just under 3,000 steps to climb the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa!
This means that, if 10,000 of you were to make a generous EUR 10 donation per step, we would easily achieve our fundraising target! Wouldn't it be truly amazing to have such a big and direct impact?
With as little as:
EUR 25, you can help buy a bag with school material
EUR 50, you can help buy educational material to train 10, yes TEN, social workers
EUR 80, you can help buy books and school equipment for one child
EUR 100, you can help buy food, clothes, books, as well as provide mental health support for a student in higher education
As a token of our appreciation, we promise to keep you up to date, so that you get the chance to see for yourself the positive effect of your donations.
Here is how you can help
Make a donation
You can either make a donation through Chuffed or by clicking here. Please remember that no amount is too small (or too large!) and your donation will go a long way to help reach our goal.
Share this story with your colleagues, friends and family
You will be able to follow our journey on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Journi (for those who are not on social media), where we will share regular updates, photos and videos. We would love if you could take a few seconds to like and share our updates. The good old word of mouth works too!
Become a fundraising ninja
It really isn't as hard as it sounds - we would be delighted to have you join our fundraising team. You could turn a birthday bash, girls night out (best excuse ever to hold one) or your next company event into a fundraising event. In return, you would get a very special mention during our fundraising campaign and, best of all, a batch of my special homemade chewy brownies.