E C U A D O R
The Melvin Jones School (Unidad de Educación Especializada Melvin Jones) is a school for children with mental and physical challenges, providing student-specific education and physical therapy. Located in the city of La Libertad in Ecuador, the school is the only one of its kind and serves approximately 180 children. Given that the severely impoverished public schools of Ecuador are not equipped to serve children with special needs, the Melvin Jones school helps kids that would otherwise simply languish at home. Even though the school has an educational contract with the Ecuadorian government, the government often pays months behind the scheduled pay date (if it pays at all). The school has found ways to generate some of the funds needed to survive (such as teaching the children how to garden and selling the produce they raise) but without outside donations the school would have to close its doors. The THOMAS ENGEL-Foundation offers direct support and makes every effort to find new supporters, especially within the ex-pat population of Ecuador.
Helping Kids in Ecuador (= HKIE)
In 2016, the THOMAS ENGEL-Foundation began its support of a small, but very successful, American organization, Helping Kids In Ecuador (HKIE). In the province of Santa Elena, as well as, in other parts of Ecuador there are many children whose life is impaired significantly as they suffer from a deformity or are physically challenged. HKIE focuses on children whose parents cannot afford these types of surgeries. In the course of the years, The Helping Kids in Ecuador organization has established a fairly extensive network of Ecuadorian surgeons and hospitals that will provide surgeries for poor Ecuadorian children at minimal or no cost. There is an agreement stipulating that children who attend the Melvin Jones school will be given priority for surgeries that remove or reduce deformities or problems with mobility, etc.
Ecuador has 14 million inhabitants and is one the poorest countries of South America. It is situated at the Equator between Colombia and Peru. The THOMAS ENGEL-Foundation supports two projects in Ecuador.