Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Inspiring: The Salesians in Ecuador

National Public Radio has a two-part story on the work the Salesians are doing in Ecuador. You can listen here.

Excerpts of the text versions are below:

Ecuadoran Family Finds Refuge With Salesians
Larry Abramson and Marisa Peñaloza

Maribel Olmedo sits in her house, surrounded by some of her children, including Hamilton (from left), 16, Jonathan, 12, Pierina, 2, and Jose, 1. The family struggles to make ends meet, but Olmedo says she is grateful her children are alive.

Maribel Olmedo doesn't complain about life, even though life has not been kind. She doesn't ask for much, either. "My only dream is to set up a food business at home," Olmedo says.


In many developing countries, urbanization is leading to a huge problem — a rapid growth in the number of street children. They often flee their homes to escape abuse or just to earn extra money. Social services agencies have had limited success dealing with the problem because there are so many causes, from domestic violence to poverty.

From the front step of Segunda Ayobi's cinder block house, you can't escape the strong smell of trash and other waste that collects in a nearby estuary. Nearby, tough-looking young men glare at any strangers who cross their turf. Ayobi says this is not an easy place to raise a child...

"We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood who get involved in drugs — 13- to 14-year-olds," Ayobi says. "And I was very concerned about that."

A couple of years ago, Ayobi was worried about her son Mario, who was just 13 then. With her limited income from selling home-cooked food, there wasn't much money around the house....

Ayobi turned to a Catholic order that has taken a special interest in the plight of street children: the Salesians."

God Bless these Sons of Don Bosco!

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