Project Arnold: A Little Hope for the Vulnerable in Guayaquil-Ecuador.

Best Practices

The project operates in three parishes: St. Arnold Janssen, in Mount Sinai, Northeast of the city. Our lady of Rocks and St. Brother Michael Guasmo, South of the city.

The project is a pastoral and professional response to accompany the families, the youths and the children in risky and violent situations. Despite all the defects, more than 270,000 inhabitants live in this vast area far away from the traditional limits of the city. 75% of this population live in abject poverty, according to a report published recently by the Home for Christ Corporation that has been working in the area for many years.
The immigrant families from the interior of the country, mostly from Chimborazo, Azuay and Manabi provinces live in small houses made of wood and reeds, built on the extensions of the land that was invaded or acquired from land traffickers. Many families are dysfunctional, in such a way that it is common to find more than one family living in one house, many single mothers with children, some from different fathers, unemployed, etc.
In the families there is physical, psychological and sexual violence. The children are abused by their stepfathers, brothers, uncles, etc. Sometimes the mothers are aware of the ordeal but they do not report it because of the fear of losing support that the men bring to the house, or for lack of knowledge and for considering it a taboo, a situation that many think they cannot do anything about, probably because they too underwent the same abuse when they were small.
This situation led the Ecuador SVD province to opt for the mission in these areas and has extended its missionary services in the last two and half years to the new Mount Sinai Parish.
Drug addiction and violence among gangs have become a pandemic in many youths, and also at the level of domestic violence, leaving more children exposed to physical, sexual and psychological violence. The narcotic traffickers have extended their tentacles in many suburbs of our mission area in Quayaquil, and the use of minors for distribution of drugs is the biggest danger we are facing. This has provoked a tendency of micro trafficking, especially in schools and institutes where the children and adolescents sell marijuana, cocaine base, and above all ‘H’, that is one byproduct of heroine.
Thanks be to God during the last years the United States and its authorities has been trying to fight this situation and the local Church through SVD-ECU congregation is maintaining the faith with the most needy.
Our daily mission
The St. Arnold project has been functioning successfully since the year 2004 and it appreciated by the families under the project, that see in the Church and the SVD mission a sign of hope and compassion, where their children can take refuge, start a recuperation project and prevent abuse and violence of all kinds.
The coastal district of the province is trying to respond to these challenges thanks to the help of three psychologists who assist 3 times a week in our parishes; a lawyer, civil servants and organizations related with the objective of the project that provides various services for the benefit of the members under the project. It is only an evangelical response.

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