In Quito, Ecuador, special needs children get marginalized – hidden and neglected by families who feel overwhelmed or needless shame. But in the early 1990s, Elena Vasconez – young and disabled herself – developed a partial solution to this problem. The Lord gave her a vision for a special program that would offer help, activities and encouragement to Ecuador’s poor, disabled children.
Summer camps designed just for these special kids – That’s how Camp Hope began in 1993. By 1995, Elena recognized the need for a day care center – a safe place where poor parents could leave handicapped children during the day so they could work. The day care grew and started providing physical therapy, schooling and meals.
During this time, a disabled girl found sleeping in a Quito park was brought to Camp Hope, and she ended up sleeping on the floor of the office. Not long after that another disabled child attending the day care had an immediate housing need. For several months, the girls bounced from one board member’s home to another so they could receive adequate care. Then, in 1996, God provided a place for the disabled orphan girls, and an orphanage grew to house six children. While it was blessing, the facility had cramped living space that seemed more crowded by all the wheel chairs. In 2006, God allowed IMPACT to help facilitate the funding for a new, much larger orphanage called Casa Hogar. Today, 17 disabled children and young adults live in the orphanage, and 40 handicapped children attend the Camp Hope daycare center.
For further information, visit www.camphopeecuador.org.