The seed for our project was planted last spring, when Annette returned to visit her Ecuadorian host family that she stayed with during her gap year. Knowing about the grant options offered at the College, she asked about the community's needs. She was most struck by the fact that many families need afternoon and evening care for their children, but that most preschools in the area close at noon. She then decided to try to address this need with the connections she'd made and their expertise.
Back at school, she enlisted my help to formulate the grant proposal. Because of our connections with Burbujitas de Luz, a preschool in Santa Inés, Ecuador, we were able to design an extension of their daycare services. We will be hiring a coordinator with experience in early childhood education, and it will be staffed by volunteers from the local university in order to make this program completely sustainable after we leave.
Aided by our Spanish language skills, our love of experiencing other cultures, and our determination to make a difference, we hope to effectively learn from the inspiring child care providers and social justice activists at work in Ecuador in order to use our funds in the most effective way possible to fulfill their visions for their community.
We are two weeks away from embarking on our journey and we are so excited to start working! We hope to return humbled and accomplished, leaving behind a sustainable program that helps working parents in this community provide for their families.
Annette with her host family in Spring 2015
Annette and Emma adventuring in New London, Connecticut