Manitoba to Ecuador is holding a night of entertainment with comedian Matt Falk to raise funds for young people to receive education.
The organization has been around for 11 years, sponsoring children and young adults from Ecuador to receive education here in Manitoba.
Mark Reimer from Manitoba to Ecuador says it’s a blessing to be able to connect with children, teenagers, and young adults, and just see them flourish.
“What Manitoba to Ecuador has attempted to do is reach out, walk alongside, listen to their stories, listen to their dreams, and where possible, help these dreams come true.”
Reimer’s personal dream, and the dream of Manitoba to Ecuador, is to be able to help people afford both living costs and schooling costs.
This dream comes true through donations and the generosity of the community.
“There's a list of students who would love to hear, ‘we've got you covered for the next year, you don't have to worry about whether or not you're going to be able to have to make a choice between food and going to class. You'll get both.’”
He’s grateful for everyone who has donated or volunteered in the past and is looking forward to seeing what the future brings.
“There is no other way that stuff like this can happen without the generosity of the community,” he says. “And we have another opportunity to do that. I'm so excited about November 23rd.”
Reimer has known current student Alex Cedeno since Cedeno was only nine years old. Now at the age of 20, he is studying at Providence University through scholarship.
Reimer is extremely proud of him and his accomplishments.
“He's going to go back to Ecuador as the most qualified English teacher in the entire country, opening so many doors of opportunity for him.”
Another student in the program is Melanie Barea. She had applied and qualified for college, but her father got sick with COVID and lost his job, so he could no longer provide financial support for her to study in Manitoba.
She ended up qualifying, and she reached out to Manitoba to Ecuador, and they will be able to support her through college.
He also notes over a span of four years, Hanover has hosted 15 students to study at SRSS for one semester, so they could learn English.
“Knowing English is simply helpful in an economy that's driven by tourism.”
They are also helping younger kids with schooling in Ecuador.
"We're going younger, we're preparing backpacks for elementary age kids, and continuing to work on establishing a library because kids don't have access to books. It's been life-changing for so many people.”
The fundraising evening will be hosted by Kenton Dyck, opening music set by Michelle Sawatzky, followed by the main act with comedian Matt Falk.
It all takes place on Wednesday, November 23rd at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre in Steinbach. The evening starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20. You can buy them online or call Mark Reimer at 204-381-3490.
with files from Michelle Sawatzky