GringoPost | Ecuador: Caring for the disabled in the time of COVID-19

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Caring for the disabled in the time of COVID-19

We spotted him outside, waiting his turn along with everyone else. So, we motioned for him to come to the front of the long line this morning. He was 70-years old, a mild-mannered, elderly man wearing well-worn clothes. He started to cry as soon as he sat down with us at our receiving table. He lives alone with his wife who has Alzheimer’s, and worries when he must leave her at home by herself. He works as a recycler of bottles, going through the garbage placed curbside by people in the evenings and rummaging through the trash bins in the parks and on the streets of El Centro. For the past two months, he has not been able to work due to the crisis and lockdown. Without his usual work, he has had no income at all, nothing with which to pay his rent, buy food, or to purchase necessary medications for his wife. There has been no food in his house for nearly a week now, and his landlord, also desperate during the crisis, is frustrated and threatening to evict them. We were able to provide him with a food basket to take home today to share with his wife who was waiting for him, and are helping to get him the medicines that she needs.

This is only one of many stories we hear from those who show up at our doors, those who are disabled or are the caretakers of a disabled person. They come pushing their loved ones in wheelchairs, slowly limp along on crutches, lead the blind, speak for the deaf and mute. All poor already, and on top of that, they are living a rather challenging life due to their disabilities, or caring for loved ones who need their help on a daily basis. But the hunger is what brings them out, in search of help, any help they can possibly find. The desperation they feel, with nowhere else to turn, as their extended families and neighbors are also struggling right now during the crisis. To make matters worse, most families of the disabled here live off of disability pension, but due to the crisis and lockdown, the government has not paid it out for two months. They are some of the most vulnerable people right now, and hear by word of mouth that Hogar de Esperanza can help them. We see more and more disabled people in need as the days go on, lined up outside our door each morning. We do everything we can to help keep them fed and well during this especially trying time. We could not do any of this without you and your continued support – because, while we are the hands delivering the assistance, you are the hearts – enabling us to carry out our mission through your compassion and generosity.

To help us help the disabled, and all of those who are most vulnerable and need our support right now, you can donate online at: If you prefer to make a donation through bank transfer, please contact us for the account information. We are also happy to schedule pick-ups of cash donations and in-kind donations of items. Thank you so much – we could not do any of this without you.

Garry Vatcher: 099 094 7611. Call after: 6 AM.

City: Cuenca