Hope For Heart of the World
In the Summer of 2019, band member Joseph Traylor volunteered through the organization, SIFAT (Servants In Faith And Technology), to go and serve on mission to Quito, Ecuador. There he witnessed the resiliency of an impoverished community - who, in the face of financial uncertainty, manages to provide its children the hope of opportunity and a better tomorrow. There he saw a potential way for Celestial Grimace to tangibly help this community in the long term.
Some context of this mission trip...
SIFAT’s mission is to bridge the the First and Two-thirds Worlds by equipping impoverished communities in the areas of: Community Health, Sanitation, Sustainability, Micro-Enterprise, Literacy, etc…
SIFAT’s mission in Ecuador:
In 2008, 12 community leaders and pastors finished a training taught by the SIFAT Ecuador staff, led by SIFAT director Dr. Roberto Contreras and his wife, Monica. Upon completion, project proposals of these graduates were reviewed and accepted by SIFAT based on need and sustainability. Most of their churches had been selected by Compassion International to sponsor an after-school program that includes a hot meal, tutoring and Bible lessons for children who would otherwise be on the streets. Now SIFAT mission teams are empowering these graduates by helping support their projects. Each church approved for this program must provide a facility where the children can attend the after-school classes. These are extremely poor churches and to build these facilities would be almost impossible without the partnership of SIFAT and our short-term mission teams. SIFAT construction teams work alongside the community to build each facility, while SIFAT medical and VBS teams continue to serve on all our approved project sites to provide medical care and spiritual development for more information: in these often forgotten communities
While in Ecuador it was revealed that, as of January 2019, the City of Quito had rescinded its welcome toward Compassion International, thus leaving thousands of children within the city without sponsorship. Aida Leon is one of the poorest areas of Quito. One particular church, Iglesia Bautista Esperanza Eterna -or- Eternal Hope Baptist Church, has continued to provide for these children. And doing so from their own pocket.
Francis Hurtado of “The Borgen Project” perfectly summarizes the gravity of such a task:
In the United States, education is required. It is illegal for a child not to attend school. However, many countries in Latin America don’t have that policy. Ecuador is one of the countries that don’t require children to obtain an education. All the public schools in Ecuador are not free, although many are inexpensive. The financial burden of education makes it less accessible. Consequently, lack of education is one of the main causes of poverty in Ecuador.
More than 60 percent of the population lives near the poverty line. Because of this, child labor is one of the main sources of income for many of families. In the capital of Quito, children line the streets, selling fruit, water and trinkets.
Many resort to child labor in order to obtain an education. However, this tends to create a cycle of poverty. Young people are not attending school because they are working. By the time they make the amount required for school, they have fallen significantly behind.
In order to combat the poverty rate, the Ecuadorian government focuses on infrastructure to boost the economy. This sector has created thousands of jobs. This provides thousands with a minimum surviving wage.
However, these government jobs are also one of the causes of poverty in Ecuador. As the government hands out manual labor placements, the citizens keep voting for a corrupted government that almost never addresses education.
Other causes of poverty in Ecuador include the lack of employment, little access to land and low market integration. Ecuadorians who live in rural highlands do not have access to education or healthcare, often causing malnutrition.
For emerging economies like Ecuador, it is important to note that education should be one of the top priorities of the country. Without education, many areas of advancement are restricted.
In response, Celestial Grimace has created OUTREACH. Outreach is a simple fundraiser - We make and sell a unique, limited-edition, high-quality T-shirt with all proceeds to be given directly to Iglesia Bautista Esperanza Eterna to continue their work feeding, teaching, and caring for the children of Aida Leon.
We will be making these shirts in-house. So in order to be cost effective and to maximize the donations, we have a goal of 75 shirts for this first run. Below is the design in detail as well as a mock up of the final product: