The San Jose Freinademetz Foundation
Love is the only language that everybody understands
The small city of Ventanas is located in the coastal region of Ecuador in the province of Los Rios. The province's economy is largely based on its agriculture, mainly rice and bananas. Despite its well-developed agriculture, it is one of the poorest provinces in Ecuador, often subject to flooding, with some of the worst roads in the country. Seventy percent of the 98 thousand people in Ventanas Canton make their living from farm work (especially the men), tourism, and informal merchandising. A man working on a plantation makes about $33 a week. From this wage, he has to support an average family of five. The monthly rent of an average house in the city costs about $100. As a result the poorest families are forced to live in swamps where the rent is as low as $20 a month.
The San Jose Freinademetz, SVD - Fu Shen Fu Foundation was established by Father Jan Koczy of a Roman Catholic religious order “Society of the Divine Word” (Societas Verbi Divini). He was sent to Ventanas to work in the Parish of Virgin de Guadeloupe and had first to build a church and a parish house. While doing this he realized that there were many malnourished children in the area. With the help of volunteers from the parish he started preparing one good meal a day for the most needy children. Although the idea was great it was very difficult to follow it through. There wasn't always enough food available to feed everyone. There were days when children were sent back home as hungry as they arrived. There was no dining room available and the children were fed inside and around the church. Some of the most malnourished children who were not used to having a full meal were vomiting most of it back soon after eating it.
As time went by it soon became apparent that other aspects of the chidren's life such as health care, education, and moral guidance are also in dire need for help. Once it became obvious that the local community wouldn't be able to cope with all the challenges by itself, Father Jan decided in 2005 to set up a foundation in order to seek outside help. This is when the Fu Shen Fu Foundation was set up.
The four primary aims of the Foundation are to provide needy children with:
- One substantial meal a day.
- Health care. That includes medical examination, teaching personal hygiene, providing any necessary medicines if they are ill, and giving them financial support if they need an operation or other treatment.
- Education by providing books, school kits and uniforms, paying any fees and helping with homework.
- Guidance, by giving them moral education and by teaching them the basis of life in a community in relation to Christian values.
The Foundation takes care of needy children from the age of four upwards. In a few cases younger children are being helped but in that case a parent or a guardian is required to accompany them.
In addition to helping children the Foundation also offers guidance to their mothers. Apart from the courses in responsible parenting the mothers have the option of attending workshops in nutrition, family relationships, handicrafts (classes in making chocolate candies, jewelry, scent candles, balloon figures, etc.) and other activities aimed at improving their social awareness and their income.
“Ventanas” means "Windows" in Spanish. We appeal to you to help the Foundation to open windows for more children and their families to a brighter future and more prosperous life. It is only possible thanks to generosity and help of people like you. There are many ways that you can help. You will be surprised how easily you can influence someone else's life with a very little effort on your part. Please check it out.