In September 2009 Avanzar created a Ludoteca (Games Library) at „Vicente Corral Moscoso“, the largest hospital in Cuenca/Ecuador where mostly children of very destitute families from rural areas receive treatment.
Here, the children are under the care of professionals motivating them to play, catch up with the school subjects they are missing, and most of all forget about the stress related to their hospitalization. The volunteers working at the Ludoteca every day play a major role in the healing process of the children. It cannot be stressed enough how important playing and laughing is for a child in order to heal. More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives children the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope.
Today, Fundacion Avanzar also provides speech and physical therapies, both for hospitalized children as well for those who have already been discharged but cannot afford a private therapy.
In addition to the Ludoteca, Avanzar also offers support to the relatives of the hospitalized children. In Ecuador, at least one family member is required to remain with the children and help with their care and treatment. However, the hospital cannot afford to offer them any kind of accommodation, food, or facilities. Until 2009, the only comfort offered was a plastic chair where parents spent day and night. Most children spend an average of 6 days at the hospital, however some children are hospitalized for months. Thus, Avanzar considered it urgent to offer the relatives more comfort. With the support of a generous Swiss-Ecuadorian family, we started an integral program for the families. This program includes:
- a comfortable, reclining armchair next to each child's bed
- daily breakfast, and for the poorest also lunch
- crafts course and the possibility to continue the course once they have left the hospital
- regular visits of psychologists and volunteers
- info on how to prevent the recurrence of illnesses and accidents
- info on where and how they can get support from other institutions