Today we worked with kids from Manitas Trabajadoras, a non-profit organization that provides aid to working child scholars. We Glimpsers went to Parque Moldonado and helped the children sell candy and shine shoes. We played games with them, talked to them about their daily lives, and had lunch with them. Afterwards, we came back to Hotel Primavera, where we had some free time where we played volleyball. Then we had a program seminar about English Tutoring and how we will go about it.
During the time engaging with the kids from Manitas Trabajadoras, many of us Glimpsers experienced the challenging conditions they face daily. As we walked around the park, either accompanying the kids in shoe shining or selling candy, we witnessed their endurance and will power. The children’s main motives were to pay for their school tuition and support their households. With the Ecuadorian minimum wage being less than four hundred dollars per month, it is crucial that the kids work to sustain themselves, likely prioritizing work over other childhood activities. As we experienced a day in their shoes, it was heartbreaking to undergo the treatment they face while working on the streets. Many people walked past the children without sparing a second glance. The harsh conditions that the children have to live through at such a young age were shocking to us because it impinges on their psychological and physical health. One picture captures Brendyn partaking in the role of a typical child worker by shoe shining. In the other picture, Hana and Joan May carry Miguel, who at the age of 5 sells candies on the streets of Riobamba.
Many of us Glimpsers value the hardworking characteristics that the kids embrace. Working alongside them helped us realize the privileges we have in the United States. Most of us can purchase things whenever we desire, while having accessibility to educational opportunities and many day-to-day necessities. However, these kids work twice as hard as we do while only enjoying half the things we do. During this emotional day, as Líderes del Día, we were heavily moved by the exposure of a life outside our comfortable American bubble.