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Vanessa Flores ’12 helps build homes in Ecuador

International relations and Latin American studies double-major Vanessa Flores ’12 spent last summer in her native Ecuador working for Un techo para mi País.

Un techo para mi País, a non-governmental organization, relies on individual donations from Ecuadorans and business sponsorships to build emergency housing throughout the country. The money for construction materials comes from volunteers who, from 6 a.m. to 7p.m., kindly ask for money from people passing by in cars on some of the most congested streets in Ecuador’s largest cities.

Flores is one of thousands of mostly young people who volunteer a week at a time to build housing across the country. Her work with Un techo para mi País took her from her home in Quito to different rural towns where the demand for housing is most urgent.

“Once houses are constructed,” says Flores, “families can finally say that they have something of their own. Being able to help this organization, has helped me realize what I have and how blessed I am by the opportunity to help others.”

Flores expects to enroll in a graduate program in anthropology and international studies upon her graduation from Lake Forest next year. She will return to Ecuador this summer to spend precious time with her family and either once again do volunteer work with Un techo para mi País or perhaps work with another non-governmental development organization.