Extreme Response has worked in the Quito Dump since 1997, starting with a focus helping kids living in extreme poverty. Our commitment to kids has only intensified over the years. Today, ER staff provide strategic programming that allows these kids to catch up to their peers. They do this by supplying nutritious meals and snacks, teaching life skills and using curriculum designed to help the kids advance. Staff also work with Dump parents to raise their engagement in their children’s development.
By Robyn Wallace, Assistant Director, Quito Dump Program
The recyclers grew up sifting through the trash in the Quito Dump alongside their parents to survive. They had no schooling, no protection, no healthcare, little food and even less hope of a different life. The Dump is now a garbage transfer station and the young children of the past are the recycling adults of today.
Extreme Response’s Child Development Center within the garbage transfer station offers the first glimpse of hope to the littlest members of our recycling families. Our program, which began in 2006 with a daycare, serves children age six months old to four years old, who enter the center five days a week and breathe hope.
Hope to eat. Hope to be clean. Hope to be healthy. Hope to learn, grow and be prepared for a lifetime of possibilities.
This past spring, the precious little ones we serve suffered alongside their families in an internal conflict among recycling leadership. Fear, hunger and constant closures challenged the hope we have been sowing. During that chaotic period, ER was able to provide food to our families on three occasions.
School is back in session! Lesson plans are written, music is playing and building blocks cover the floor once again. We even have the addition of shiny new bathrooms that adorn our center, thanks to a short-term mission team in May. These restrooms will provide extra security and hygiene.
We march on. Hope is waiting.
Robyn Wallace and her husband Brian have been serving in Quito, Ecuador, since 2014. They work at the Zambiza Garbage Transfer Station, also known as the Quito Dump, where they help care for the nearly 300 families who work as recyclers. Robyn has been instrumental in identifying curriculum and testing so the kids in the Dump Daycare can enter preschool and kindergarten at levels on par with other kids. Brian oversees the medical and dental clinics, which address families’ physical needs.