Care and support ensure a bright future for Andreas in Ecuador
Coming to SOS Children's Villages in Ibarra, Ecuador, was difficult for Andreas*. At 13, he and his younger brother Leo*, who was eight at the time, found themselves in a situation where their mother could no longer care for them.
While Leo, being younger, adapted more quickly, Andreas, as a teenager, faced a greater challenge. He knew he had to be strong for them both.
"It was a completely new environment, and I had the responsibility of looking after my brother. I had to be his pillar of strength. He was happy, enjoying his time playing with the other children, and he adapted quickly. But for me, it took longer. I was quite serious during the first few months, but gradually, I adjusted," Andreas recalls.
Andreas initially believed their stay in the village would only be temporary. Now 19 years old, Andreas is an independent young man who recently left the SOS Children's Villages in Ibarra. He acknowledges that a significant part of his education occurred during his time there.
"SOS Children's Villages provided me with support as an individual, shaping my character and influencing the person I am today. When we first joined, we were still very young, and due to the hardships we had experienced, we arrived with a reference point of where we wanted to go. The village provided us with the necessary knowledge and training to help us reach our goals," he explains.
Andreas firmly believes that his experience in SOS Children's Villages has transformed him and equipped him for his future. He is an eager learner who seizes every opportunity to acquire knowledge.
"I am involved in everything related to electricity. I have a passion for it and love working on my own projects. Within SOS Children's Villages, I developed various skills. I also enjoy cooking and selling empanadas,” Andreas says.
Since leaving SOS Children’s Villages in Ibarra, Andreas acknowledges that the support he received has fortified the skills he needs to face the challenges ahead.
"I believe I have the necessary tools to succeed. With the assistance I receive, I am progressing faster than before," he says confidently.
Besides his interest in electricity, Andreas deeply loves basketball, dedicating several hours each week to training.
He is also pursuing technical studies in engineering through a scholarship and aspires to continue his studies to become a software or electrical engineer.
"I want to specialize further in the electrical field. I have a strong inclination towards studying electricity. I am also considering obtaining a degree in software engineering. My current studies are at the technical level,” Andreas explains.
Andreas is very focused on his self-improvement.
"I feel satisfied with the knowledge and leadership skills I gained from SOS Children's Villages. I feel complete, and I am content with who I am. Currently, I am competing against myself in the race of time. I am on my own path and not trying to compete with anyone else. I am incredibly grateful for the guidance and support I have received," he shares.
Andreas still visits his caregiver in Ibarra and his siblings, serving as a role model for them.
"SOS Children's Villages was my family. It was the foundation where I grew up and acquired knowledge. Through the time I spent there, I have learned to lead my own life, take charge of my projects, be responsible, and prioritize my well-being. It has been a constant source of support, my second family, guiding me from the very beginning to where I am now,” Andreas says.
*Names changed to protect privacy