We have officially completed our third social mission trip. This one, helping survivors in Ecuador of a massive 7.8 earthquake that hit the country on 16th of April this year. More than 600 people were killed and 27,000 were injured.

Together with a group of 15 powerful women, we came to support communities that are trying to build their lives from the ground up (literally) with the most positive outlook on life and intense energies of love that we’ve ever felt before.

From the moment we arrived, we were educated about what went on in April after the earthquake and were shown the devastation. The people that were affected lost their homes, food, water sources and loved ones. 

We went into the heart of Manta and handed out fresh veggies that we harvested, donated blankets, floaties (for bedding), clothes, toys and love. They were so grateful. The rest of the days we contributed to the building of a new community- mainly the school. We showed them the importance of picking up plastic, we all planted trees, and made concrete to help build their bathrooms- The kids were excited and the adults were relieved they had some help for a few days.

It was unique. We experienced life on a completely new level. We really learned the power of impact that just a 15 person group can make. Imagine the impact when this number grows… we all can make an impact. A very strong one!

IT HAPPENED!

August 05-10, 2016

During this trip participants got an insight into the challenges of recovering after the traumatic experiences of a natural disaster and how we can seize such an opportunity to build something good. We didn’t only gain hands-on experience in agriculture, sustainable living, and handicraft  but we contributed to providing children and their families with a safe and loving environment to prosper.

Through 109’ers support, we have helped Proyecto Amor 7.8  to start implementing a water system, sanitation stations and planting trees to create shade for the children in the Cantagallo School. If you feel drawn to give what you can to help us continue the work at the Cantagallo School, please click here.

On the 16th of April this year, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Ecuador. More than 700 people were killed, 27,000 were injured and thousands were left without the basic necessities for living.

Nearly 7,000 buildings have been destroyed, and 560 schools have been affected, leaving up to 120,000 children temporarily without education or the safe place that a school provides when home does not exist.

109 World and Proyecto Amor 7.8 have united to provide the means needed for the safety and wellbeing of these children and their communities.

Children are always the most vulnerable group.

A safe and secure place is a lifeline for children going through the trauma of chaos and destruction. It helps give them a sense of purpose and puts them on track for psychological recovery.

A total of 250,000 children have been affected by the earthquake. Suffering the loss of family members, displaced from their homes, separated from their toys and friends, children affected by the Ecuador earthquake will find their lives shaken long after the aftershocks end. Many families are still sleeping outside on the street, in temporary camps, or even in their homes that are on the verge of collapsing.

Unfortunately, when media switches attention to other news, it doesn’t take long before stories are forgotten by the world. Ecuador may no longer be in the headlines, but these people are still in dire need — The need for large-scale, long-term visions for healing that are vital to lift this population out of misery and its enduring negative effects.

In Manta, Ecuador, over 200 families live in tents without basic human rights or hopes of a brighter future. But this is about to change.

On top of responding to the the immediate needs in water, sanitation, education, child protection, health and nutrition, the organization Proyecto Amor7.8 understands how crucial long-term solutions are and has set out to empower this community to rise even stronger than before the earthquake disrupted their lives. By providing the tools and the knowledge to build a sustainable, healthy and happy community, Proyecto Amor7.8 is the perfect example of people with good intentions coming together and using what they have to create positive change.

We will be donating our profits from 109 Children to the re-construction of the community that Proyecto Amor7.8 is helping. More specifically, the funding will go towards sanitation facilities and an organic food garden.

These are our fundraising goals and you can still contribute here:

  1. USD10,000: We will be able to implement a garden providing the selected camps in Manta with an abundance of nutrients, as well as training to maintain, harvest and cook the crops. Ecuador has an amazing fertile ground and a potential to produce enough food for everyone but in the cities (most affected areas) access to this abundance is difficult and agricultural knowledge forgotten.
  2. USD20,000: We will be able to do the above as well as implementing enough composting toilets and sanitation stations for all families. Today, the sanitation situation in the temporary camps is life threatening but even prior to the earthquake the situation was poor. To avoid diseases to spread, rapes and humiliation the need for proper toilets and sanitation is key.
  3. USD30,000: All the above as well as installing solar panels to assure the provision of steady, sustainable electricity.

Straddling the equator, Ecuador is “the land of orchids and hummingbirds”. Its relatively tiny size packs in an amazingly diverse landscape – notably, the Amazon rainforest, Andean highlands, and exotic Galápagos Islands.

Manta is a coastal hotspot. It is near Ecuador’s largest city of Guayaquil, but largely removed from the hustle and bustle of the city life, making it a place that is the “best of both worlds”. It is a place of convenience, but also a place of hardship.

Puerto Cayo is a quaint fishing village about an hour south of Manta. Known for the most beautiful and tranquil beaches on the country’s coast, it also boasts rich biodiversity, giving it the title “the cradle of humpback whales”. We stayed here at the picturesque Las Tanusas Resort & Boutique Hotel.

Liz Arch

Yoga teacher, martial artist, certified life coach, Under Armour athlete, and the creator of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga/martial arts fusion class that merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi into a creative, intelligent and mindful flow.

In addition to her yogic education, she holds a Plant Based Nutrition Certificate from Cornell University. Liz has trained celebrities, musicians and Olympic athletes, and travels the world leading teacher training programs, workshops and yoga retreats.

Liz was named one of the “100 Women to Watch in Wellness” in 2015 by MindBodyGreen and has graced the covers of international yoga magazines including Yoga Journal, Om Yoga Magazine, Yoga Life Magazine, and Yoga & Wellness Magazine. She is one of the featured athletes for Under Armour’s Fall 2016 Women’s Studio Line campaign and is a health and wellness expert for Under Armour’s connected fitness team, which reaches a worldwide audience of over 170 million people.

She is a firm believer in the capacity of yoga to heal on both a physical and emotional level.  She currently serves as the West Coast Director for The Purple Dot Yoga Project, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about domestic violence by supporting and empowering individuals affected by trauma and abuse through yoga. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for A Window Between Worlds, a national non-profit organization that uses art as a healing tool to empower and transform the lives of individuals and communities impacted by domestic violence and trauma.

She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her two rescue dogs Faith and Nalu. When she’s not cuddling her pups, you can find her doing handstands on the streets of Los Angeles.