It was with great enthusiasm and excitement that the Aspen Ecuador team hosted two events for Mandela Day – one in the city of Quito and another in Guayaquil.

Employees from Aspen’s Quito-based office supported the María Campi de Yoder shelter provides warmth, care and a homely environment to 30 vulnerable children.

Aspen volunteers arranged various activities for the 12 boys and 18 girls and provided donations of clothing, toys and school supplies. Events of the day included a brief overview about Mandela Day but the fun really started with colouring-in activities and the preparation of banners regarding stories that were narrated during the morning. The essence of the stories focused on improved self-esteem and inner power from which the children could learn valuable life lessons. Each child also received a hearty meal as well as a medical checkup from local volunteer, District Manager Marco Cisneros, who has ensured that the children each have a medical chart with relevant data for future reference.

Those children who were diagnosed with acute medical conditions will also have follow up examinations and receive the necessary medical attention.

After the medical examinations, some of the children enjoyed “caritas pintadas” (face painting), while others made puppets. The festivities ended with a party, delicious snacks including a Mandela Day cake and – of course – a traditional candy-filled “piñata”.

In Guayaquil, Aspen volunteers supported children at the Centro de Desarrollo Infantil - Durán with a program full of fun and surprises. The 40 children were given an overview of various professions that could assist them with career guidance and they also enjoyed activities that included storytelling and making hot dogs. A highlight of the day was the photo booth where the children enjoyed taking photos using a variety of props that were supplied. The day ended when an Aspen volunteer, dressed as a doll, handed out treats of sweets to all the children.