Chicago businesswoman Zully Alvarado formed Causes for Change International out of taking Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program in 1996, and 13 years later CCI is still going strong. Alvarado had grown up in poverty in Ecuador and suffered from polio. It was only when she was brought to the United States and received advanced medical treatment was she cured. CCI seeks to assist impoverished communities with medical assistance, training and education (see Landmark Education News’ original story about CCI.)
Recently, LE News received word about what was undertaken and accomplished on CCI’s latest annual travel mission to Ecuador.
Twenty indiviuals traveled to Milagro, Ecuador: Seven students from Northwestern University, a CCI student intern attending Norbert College, a graduate school student from Depaul University and a high school student. The professionals on the volunteer team included a registered nurse with expertise in acupuncture, a dental assistant, a special education teacher, an ecologist, an energy healer and a business owner. Three researchers came from the University of Illinois, two were supported in part by CIRRIE, the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information & Exchange.
It was the responsibility of Causes for Change – Ecuador to coordinate the health care professionals and facilities where healthcare and education would be provided. CCI’s focus was to seek the support team with expertise needed in planning for the future, and the gathering of medicines and supplies.
In keeping with CCI’s mission through the development of partnerships with individuals, organizations, businesses and other interested bodies, we continued to focus on health, education and economic self-sufficiency; impacting the lives of children, women and persons with disabilities.
Intended outcomes for the July travel mission included: gathering data on population with disabilitiesfor the creation of the Exploration Institute; providing parents, educators, and health care providers training on disability; increase understanding of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities; following up on the mutual agreement of understanding between the University of Illinois at Chicago and UNEMI Nursing department; have the US Youth Team gain insight into health care in a developing country; increase Spanish language fluency on the team, and many other objectives.
Here are some of the many accomplishments of the team on the July travel mission:
- Dr. Fabricio Arteaga, a CC-Ecuador volunteer, conducted health screenings for 150 children with disabilities attending and receiving rehabilitation services at AVINNFA in Milagro, Ecuador (AVINNFA serves 286 children with multiple disabilities).
- The majority of the children seen by Dr. Arteaga were then referred to the dental clinic at UNEMI for dental hygiene, treatment and extractions. The children were seen on Luly 20th thru the 25th Dr. Santiago Llaque and two local volunteer dentists; a CCI dental assitant and student volunteers. A total of 74 children received fluoride treatments, and tooth extractions where necessary.
- CCI provided a dental chair, equipment and supplies to meet the needs and requirements for dental care. With the support of UNEMI and Dr. Santiago Llaque dental care will continue to be provided at the clinic set up at UNEMI at an average of three children per day at no cost. CCI through CC-Ecuador will provide the needed supplies whenever possible.
Stay tuned for a later article from Landmark Education News which highlights more of the accomplishment’s of Causes for Changes annual Ecuador Travel Mission. In the meantime, get more information at the Causes for Change website.