Live like an Ecuadorian President while supporting The Galo Plazo Lasso Foundation.

Like most people who come to Ecuador, my first stop was Quito.  Quito can be a confusing place when you first step off the plane.  Cab drivers try to rip you off, answers to specific questions tend to vary depending on who you are talking to, and the sights and sounds of the city can be overwhelming.

Car horns, busses, and cars following their own rules reign over the people choking the sidewalks.  To a layman’s eyes, it´s like any other major city in the world.  But beyond that first glance Quito possesses a diverse culture that isn´t seen until one explores the rest of the country.

A trip to Otavalo, the coast, and the Andes exposes the people who make up the population of Ecuador and it´s culture.  The indigenous people seen everywhere in Otavalo are scattered amongst the business crowd dressed in suits once back in Quito.  The dialect of the coast shows up in restaurants and bars  of the new town when speaking to a friendly Ecuadorian.  Even  a bus stop on the trolley can lead to a popular president´s foundation that has been quietly helping the people of Imbarra for years.

I´ve written about The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation previously on this blog when explaining what the Condor Hausi Project does to stop the extinction of wild condors in Ecuador.  I mentioned in that post that I was starting a series about the foundation as the scope of what they do is impressive.

The purpose of this article is to map out what the foundation does and then write updates about specific aspects and projects in the future.

President Galo Plaza Lasso´s vision for education in Ecuador was ahead of his time.  He started The American School in 1940 with the hopes of educating Ecuador´s future leaders in democratic principles.  The school is thriving today and boasts a list of leaders in politics, education, and medicine amongst others.

The foundation that strives to follow up on Galo Plazo Lasso’s legacy is located north of Quito in the Imbarra province.   The focus of the foundation is to help the people in the community, improve education, and actively work with conservation efforts.

One of its projects has roots with the former presidents wife.  Created more than fifty years ago by ex-president Galo Plaza and his wife Rosario as a gender-focus project, their idea was to utilize the region’s traditional embroidery skills to produce a remarkable product as a means of providing the women of the region with a supplementary income.

In the nineteen sixties,  Sr.Plaza obtained technical assistance from the Peace Corps to organize the workshop that she started and apparently the combined efforts are working.  Presently three hundred local women benefit from this form of steady employment.

Beyond the realm of helping to solve local problems, The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation has its eyes on education.  They aggressively implement local programs in communities nearby the family Hacienda that help the children of the region with their education.

Programs include Dance, Art, journalism, and education about conservation.  Hacienda Zuleta´s library has a student written newspaper, offers extra curricular activities, and annually runs a summer school.  The school’s activities cover art, English, Dance, as well as story telling and theater.  If your interested in volunteering, contact the great people at Hacienda Zuleta through the link to the website at the start of this site.

While the focus is education, The Foundation also provides resources in the form of scholarships to help those in need pay for their education and school suplies.  Three hundred dollars can pay for a full year of education for the children who need it.

Other programs spearheaded by Hacienda Zuleta and the G. Plazo Lasso Foundation are focused on keeeping traditions while moving forward.  One aspect of this is Studies in the Caranqui culture.

The Caranqui culture dates before the Inca and the foundation is working to preserve records of this culture in the province while setting up a small museum.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, this is just an outline of what the foundation does.  It’s really interesting to me and the more I research about Galo Plazo Lasso and his family and foundation, the more I find to write about.  Check back with the blog for further updates..

 If you are interested in The Galo Plazo Laso foundation and supporting its efforts, You can visit their site for more information about this Hacienda of Ecuador. The Foundation is funded through Hacienda Zuleta.  It’s a few hours from Quito, part of Ecuador’s history, and you can live like a President at the former President’s retreat in the mountains. 

Email me at savvytravellerecuador@gmail.com for more info!

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