Welcome to the Camp Hope Foundation
Our Mission Is:
To reach the needs of the economically, physically and mentally challenged children, teens, and young adults in order to enable them to attain the goals of independence and social integration. We provide: Education, Medical Services, Spiritual Discipleship, Rehabilitation, Vocational Training.
In 1979 (designated the International Year of Persons with Disabilities) a study conducted by the Institute of the Child and Family, reported that 12% of the Ecuadorian population suffered from some form of disabling condition – mental, emotional or sensorial. This statistic is significantly higher than the world wide estimate of 10% reported the same year by the World Health Organization. Due to the high birth rate and the strained economic situation in Ecuador, the care of its disabled population has not been made a priority. Currently there are only 40 special education schools and rehabilitation facilities in Ecuador. These schools serve less than 1% of persons with special needs in Ecuador.
Behind these alarming facts lies the more tragic reality; education is continually denied to physically disabled children of normal intelligence due to handicap inaccessibility in schools and a lack of public understanding of the intellectual abilities of these children. As a result of this crude situation, the majority of these children remain uneducated, unattended, dependent and captive in their homes.
These shocking statistics sparked the formulation of a one week camp experience for children with disabilities in 1983. The camp, staffed by missionaries, was the first in Ecuador. Although the majority of the staff had prior experience working with children with special needs, all staff members were required to complete an intensive two day orientation that focused on the goals of the program and taught the staff members about the special needs of the children. The first pilot camp serviced seventeen children ranging in age from six to sixteen. The children were afflicted with all types of disability including: muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and paralysis. The goal of the camp was to encompass both the physical and spiritual realms of the child by providing experiences which would promote social, physical, emotional and spiritual growth. The program included swimming, handicrafts, sports, Bible stories, singing, and one-on-one interaction time in both small and large groups. The activities were individually adjusted for each child so that everyone, despite their disability, was able to participate.
Since the formulation of the first camp, the Foundation has been fortunate enough to add 2 more camps; one for teens ages 13-17 and one for young adults ages 18-30.
The successful completion of the camp brought about the realization for the need of year-round care for handicapped children. This realization was what sparked the formulation of the Camp Hope Foundation Center which offers attention, recreation, rehabilitation, regular education, and special education as well as vocational resources and spiritual support. This program also includes regular home visitations and family counseling.
In 1990, the Ecuadorian government recognized Camp Hope as a legal, nonprofit, charitable Christian Foundation. With this status, Camp Hope is able to work with International organizations and receive donations without having to pay a duty tax. Furthermore, it enables Camp Hope to receive volunteers who help with the development of the different programs of Camp Hope and participate in projects funded by the Ecuadorian government.
The majority of families involved with Camp Hope live in poverty and are unable to contribute even marginally to the program. Thus, the majority of the funding for the program comes primarily from the donations of organizations.