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Working with local partner FDJE, AYUDA has worked to empower young people living with diabetes in Ecuador for over ten years. Below is a summary and video from our 2012 Summer Program.
AYUDA Summer Program Ecuador 2012
In July 2012, 15 AYUDA volunteers, 2 volunteer mentors, 2 volunteer assistant mentors, and 5 volunteer health care professionals traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to take part in the 2012 Summer Ecuador Volunteer Program. Over the course of 3 weeks, AYUDA volunteers, working with the Fundación Diabetes Juvenil Ecuador (FDJE) experienced an extensive training program that prepared them for their in-country experiences, particularly the home visits. They also took part in outreach activities, visiting the homes of their campers; planned camp activities with FDJE youth leaders and became committed Campo Amigo counselors.
For the volunteers, two of the most powerful experiences were the home visits and camp. The goal of the home visits, led by FDJE youth leaders, was to give volunteers the chance to meet first-time campers prior to Campo Amigo. It also gave volunteers a greater understanding of the daily lives of those living with type 1 diabetes in Ecuador. Volunteers and youth leaders, who visited approximately 3 houses each, were able to gather information from families about diabetes care prior to camp, and also answer questions from parents about the program.
The home visits helped prepare volunteers for Campo Amigo Ecuador, which was attended by 72 campers from ages 5 to 18. Working together with youth leaders, counselors-in-training, FDJE’s technical staff, endocrinologists and a medical team, volunteers supported campers through education, nutrition, sports and arts activities during the five-day program. Learning through doing was a major emphasis of the camps – even meal times served as key learning opportunities with discussions encouraged at each table around portion size and carbohydrate counting.
These activities, coupled with the personal fundraising efforts of a minimum $5,500 by each volunteer, helped to directly impact the lives of 72 Ecuadorian youth living with diabetes and their families
This past spring AYUDA volunteer mentor Sam Wohns traveled to with Quito, along with fellow volunteer mentor Corey Greenblatt and AYUDA Director of International Operations Merith Basey, to work with the Fundación Diabetes Juvenil del Ecuador (FDJE) on diabetes outreach projects. This trip was captured in a short video by filmmaker Dr. Jonny White of Welcome to type 1. In this video, Sam reflects on the personal meaning of “Together we are Stronger” and the strength of the diabetes community within Ecuador.