Wheeler Machinery Co. Partners with CHOICE Humanitarian to Build a Vocational Center in Ecuador
In August 2019, a group of Wheeler Machinery Co. employees journeyed to Ecuador to serve the people of the Intag region located in the mist-shrouded Andean mountains. During the week-long expedition, the Wheeler team worked alongside villagers on the construction of a vocational center, Inta Kara. A multi-year project with three buildings planned, Wheeler’s funds and labor help accelerate Inta Kara’s construction. Concrete was mixed, transported and poured to form columns and floors, and drainage systems were buried and soil leveled.
84% of Intag’s population lives at or below the poverty line, and 25% survive on less than $1.90 a day. Only 5% of youth have access to higher education, and poor graduation rates, high illiteracy and a struggling economy cause many young people to flee their rural communities for urban slums. These factors led CHOICE, its in-country Ecuador team and local community leaders to formulate the concept of establishing a vocational center. Corporate partnerships such as the one between CHOICE and Wheeler are key to take Inta Kara from conception to completion by providing funding and the intermittent infusion of labor during its years’ long creation.
Once complete, this innovative vocational training center will serve over 1,500 families and provide youth and underemployed adults the opportunity to live, study and gain a nationally recognized certification in masonry, welding, carpentry, cooking, tourism and more. The first of its kind in the area, the center will bring customized training solutions to these rural communities and create economic opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. Additionally, the center will serve as a hub for agricultural production and training to address food insecurity in Intag where 60% of the people suffer from malnutrition.
Dennys Flores, a 20-year-old whose family processes sugarcane in Pucara, a village in the Intag region says, “I am a young dreamer with life goals like lots of others in the zone of Intag. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the help you have offered for the construction of the Inta Kara Center. This is a worthwhile project that will benefit many people and will allow them to continue studying and have a profession that will benefit society.”
Two of Wheeler’s Guiding Principles are stewardship and service, and the company offers employees the opportunity to contribute their time and money to honor these principles by putting them into action. Employees are encouraged to participate in payroll contributions which Wheeler matches 2-to-1, and paid time off is available for employees wishing to perform hands-on volunteer work. In addition to CHOICE Humanitarian, Wheeler works with several other charitable organizations including Junior Achievement and Utah Food Bank.
About CHOICE Humanitarian: ‘The Center for Humanitarian Outreach and Inter-Cultural Exchange’ is a strategic non-governmental agency that connects motivated villages to resources and tools to provide the opportunity needed to change villagers’ lives. By building skills, capacities and leadership, entire communities can break the cycle of poverty and attain a quality of life that offers opportunities in education, healthcare, economic development, healthy living conditions while upholding sustainable human habitat. Learn more at www.choicehumanitarian.org