Location: Quito, Ecuador
Statistics are difficult to find because no one has counted the people who live and scavenge in the garbage dumps of the world’s poorest countries. They’re the people society has forgotten. Suffice to say there are hundreds of thousands of people who spend their days sifting through the trash, looking for something to eat or to sell, to make their meager lives a bit more comfortable.
Extreme Response grew out of a small children’s club in the garbage dump in Quito, Ecuador. In June 1997, ER’s founders began working with the 300-plus people who lived and worked among the trash. These people gleaned their living by digging through the garbage that flowed out of the back of garbage trucks. They lived in small shacks made from pallets and other building materials they found in the trash. They survived on what they found to use, eat and sell.
The very first Christmas Party in the Quito Dump was held in December 1997 with more than 300 people in attendance. It has since grown to more than 2,400 each year. The dump was permanently closed as a dumping site in 2005 because the landfill was full. The site is now a transfer station where garbage is trucked in, dumped in a roofed area, sorted through and then reloaded into trucks to be taken to a location outside the city.
Though the dump has changed drastically over the years, the people and their needs have not, and ER continues its work at the site. In March 2006, ER opened the Zambiza Daycare Center and Preschool. In 2016, we moved the Daycare (also called the Child Development Center) off-site to provide a safer environment for the kids. Today we serve 20 children from infancy through age 3 by providing nutrition, certified childcare instructors, skills development and a safe environment. ER also provides family counseling, outreach to night workers and help in building permanent homes for at-risk families.
The Quito Family Resource Center (QFRC) opened in June 2013 where families from the dump receive basic life-skills/nutrition/exercise training, learn crafts and more. ER also provides after-school tutoring for children at the QFRC and a men's program that emphasizes building skills and confidence through making furniture out of pallet wood.
Volunteer Opportunities: Child Development, Teaching/Tutoring, Medical Relief, Counseling Services/Home Visits, Home Construction, Family Development Workshops, Night Outreach, Quito Family Resource Center assistance, Christmas Celebrations, Life Skills.
Contact us for more information in volunteering for the Quito Dump program.