Small but mighty, a young girl with hope

5-year-old Rafaela lives in poverty in Quito, Ecuador.

Rafaela lives in a cramped home with her parents, siblings and another relative — a tight fit for the seven of them. Her family lives on about $350 a month, forcing them to make tough choices every day. 

Meet Rafaela. Sitting on a hill near her house, she almost reveals her beautiful smile, but you can see the uncertainty in her eyes. Poverty can rob children like 5-year-old Rafaela of what should be a hopeful time of discovery and wonder.

In Ecuador, 21.5% of the population lives in poverty — the result of poverty that persists generation after generation. Kids born into destitute situations typically don’t have the skills, resources or knowledge needed to break the cycle of poverty.

Poverty in ecuador

Other issues have stacked the odds against kids like Rafaela in Ecuador: Malnutrition can lead to numerous long-term difficulties in their lifetimes. Poor nutrition also affects kids’ abilities to focus in school. Add to that an inadequate educational system with overcrowded classrooms and overwhelmed teachers, and you can see how quickly kids can fall behind and never catch up.

In Ecuador, about 70% of kids live in poor conditions.


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Daily life in Quito

The little girl lives with her parents in a home made from blocks and a concrete roof. Three small bedrooms make up the lower part of their home — four beds for the entire family. Rafaela sleeps with her parents, but, her mother says, it's getting uncomfortable as Rafaela continues to grow.

Rafaela's mother, Rocio, is a housewife; her dad, Segundo, works as a messenger for a small company in Quito. With this job, he makes about $350 a month.

This meager income means their daily meals are simple. "In the morning, I give them milk with eggs," Rocio explains. "In the afternoon when they are going to school, sometimes rice with chicken whenever we have enough." The family gets water from a potable water system provided by the city.

Watch this short Q&A to learn more about her:

A generational impact

The family is proud to be part of Children International and is thankful for the help Rafaela's sponsor provides. Rocio volunteers and says she enjoys spending time at the CI community center. She hopes to continue giving her children the opportunity to study — she understands the importance that education has in breaking the cycle of poverty.

For young girls. For mothers. For everyone. Sponsorship makes a generational impact.

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About Children International

CI provides programs and safe places where children like Rafaela can come to stay healthy, receive school assistance, boost confidence and get job skills to transform their lives.

See how our supporters' contributions are used.

Breaking the cycle of poverty isn’t easy. But it is possible, thanks to Children International’s caring supporters.

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