Hogar de Cristo is the name with which this organization was founded in Chile in 1944 by the Jesuit Alberto Hurtado. Since then, it has become one of the most important social institutions in Latin America with the sole intention of providing decent homes to hundreds of people living on the streets, products the injustices of a dishonest and unfair society.
This critical assessment of a “Catholic” society indifferent to the inhuman living conditions of the majority was an inconvenient truth for Father Hurtado’s Chilean society and all societies in our region.
Latin American society has contracted a social debt that neither the government nor its citizens have been able to afford, necessitating the development of non-governmental institutions that have made it their basis to remind us that our streets are full of injustices and needs.
It was 1971 when Jesuit Priest Father Francisco Garcia founded the first Hogar de Cristo in Guayaquil, Ecuador, finally giving light to the miserable living conditions of so many sisters and brothers with unmet needs, particularly in access to housing and recognition as citizens. It has now been thirty-nine years of advances and setbacks, but firm conviction that we are contributing to and improving the quality of life of thousands of Guayaquil’s compatriots.
Many situations of water under the bridge now leads us to pause and think of our own the motto that “can only speak of the future if it has contributed to the past,” and consider how many learning opportunities have been presented overtime by the changing social contexts.
Hence, this publication is born as a place of remembrance and reflection, open and ready to create a dialogue of exchange between readers of different sectors of our society. We are ready and motivated for our next 40 years, so here we march, together with you, taking with us the achievements and lessons learned from all these years.
The book is comprised of four sections, intended to be read sequentially, but equally able to be addressed independently. In chapter one, “39 years of service to the poor,” we portray the most important aspects of Hogar de Cristo, showing the complex network of actors, projects, ideals, partners, approaches, lines of work, etc. that shape our daily actions.
The second chapter, “Where and with whom,” addresses key points needed to understand the situation in Ecuador and, in particular, the reality of people who work along the coast and on the northwest outskirts of Guayaquil. This chapter also offers an opportunity to portray the lives of the members of Hogar de Cristo, including collection of their stories and opinions on various topics of interest.
In the third chapter, “What we have achieved over the last three years,” we present a snapshot of what has been done in the work period preceding this publication, showing the achievements, impacts and lessons from our work areas, and major projects and milestones this period.
Finally, the fourth chapter, “To ignite other fires,” establishes new lines of institutional action and prospective bets, highlighting the main achievements of this year’s work and insights that allow us to grow into the future.
Cheers and thanks for your closeness and solidarity!