December 2018 - February 2019 News….

Dear Friends of Maria Amor!
Wishing you a very happy new year - or as we say here: Feliz año nuevo. January has passed already. We are again working hard on behalf of the women and children at Casa Maria Amor to improve their lives with therapy, classes and a nicer living environment.

For some women safety is a luxury - but for all women, success is a possibility.
Thank you for your donation via CAF - Charity Aids Foundation of America, cash and as in-kind support (clothes, furniture, toiletries, toys, diapers etc.)

In the last newsletter, I mentioned that my goal was $10k this year to build an emergency fund to keep the shelter open at all times. Thanks, through a US network of many friends, so far $18.730 were received. This includes a donation of $10k from one extremely generous gentleman in Florida and a match from one of my friends at Apple.
Here is a quick overview of what's going on: 

Christmas 2018 

With the help of you, many Expats living in Cuenca and the Rotary Club Tomebamba, we were able to provide gifts for the kids as well as the moms. Rotary Tomebamba again supported us with handbags that we filled with necessities as well as beauty products.

Donations/Activities/ Random-act-of Kindness 

In the last few years we have created a steady support network. It is hard to name everyone who helps us, and I understand some of you don't want to be named publicly. We are getting creative: 50% of proceeds from the launch party of Ron Wooten Green's book "A BITTER HARVEST: PESTICIDES & CANCER" went to Mujeres.

Mujeres con Exito 

Mujeres con Exito (women with success) is the branch of Casa Maria Amor, that provides job training and has 3 small businesses: a cafeteria (lunch $2,50), catering business and a laundromat. Director of Mujeres, Dianita Vasquez Bravo is driving the businesses to create jobs and contribute to income for the foundation. Look at the pretty set-up for a wedding at our own El Centro location. Several of the shelter women are employed by Mujeres. I will host my birthday party there and create a little income as well.

Leadership Change 

After many years of hard work, Marlene Villavicencio will retire. Rotary Tomabamba presidents elect Gabi Alvarado and Javier Ordonez, as well as Caritas Austria Project Manager, Marion Burger attended a wonderful good-bye dinner.
The leadership roles will be shared by Blanca Pancheco, Dianita Vasquez Bravo and Yolanda Padilla. All three women have been with the Foundation many years.


By now you know that the green house is one of my favorite projects. Why? because it produces what we need in terms of healthy food. Also - growing, planting, working with plants and soils is considered alternative therapy. At the recent planting 4 women participated, 3 teenagers, 3 volunteers, Ernesto Lovato and Yolanda Padilla, CFO and all-around talent.
Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, beet, cilantro, onion and garlic have just been replanted. All vegetables are being used in the shelter as well as in the catering business. Supposedly the women like spinach, carrots and cauliflower the best.

Rotary Club Cupertino, California & Rotary Tomebamba Grant Application 

The Grant Application underwritten by Rotary Club Tomebamba, Ecuador and Rotary Club Cupertino, USA has been submitted and we are now waiting for approval from Rotary International. Several other Rotary Clubs from Northern California and one club from India is supporting this grant. Funding and budgets are secured - final touches to meet Rotary International guidelines are still needed.

Tomebamba club has secured the support of the University of Cuenca to guarantee sustainability of programs for trauma healing, growing healthy food and improving water supply.

A Rotary Cupertino delegation will visit Cuenca incl. the shelter Maria Amor beginning of August. Rotary Tomebamba is already planning a great program.


Volunteers - Nothing goes without you... 

There are close to 60 volunteers helping to organize events, provide supplies or give cash donations to help women and children rebuilding their lives. 


Questions - Suggestions- Want to visit us? 

Please contact Irmgard Lafrentz