BY EMILY THOMPSON
FARMINGTON — Instead of simply dropping off supplies, Eagle Condor Humanitarian insists on teaching self-reliance techniques and providing sustainability to the communities they work in.
The group was founded in 2003 and has grown quickly to help communities within Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia. Although a portion of the work involves professional medical assistance funded by doctors and medical staff who travel with them, individuals who desire simply to serve less fortunate people fund most of the expeditions.
One such individual is Karen Timothy, from Davis County. She funded her recent family expedition to Cusco, Peru, by doing faux painting and holding catered dinners in her own backyard. Her husband, three of their children and two of their spouses also made the trip.
Timothy came to understand how much better it is to physically help instead of just sending money to a random organization.
“When you are standing in someone’s home, you know best how to help them,” she said. “You see it, smell it and you breathe it. It changes you.”
The purpose of Eagle Condor is to teach the native people how to take care of themselves and their children.
“This is not a ‘parachute drop and run’ type organization that we are running,” said Director of Operations Laura Chabries. “We are there to teach the people how to have long-term self-reliance and to get themselves out of poverty.”
Chabries came to the organization as an expedition member. As part of her travels, she found a link online that led her to discover the work of Eagle Condor.
After completing her humanitarian trip, she married and moved to Davis County, and then started her close relationship with the organization.
“What I liked about the group initially is their philosophy of teaching self-reliance,” she said, “and that you actually did something with the people instead of just leaving a package of supplies there.”
Eagle Condor Humanitarian functions within a unique framework. In fact, the group’s focus is so unique and vital to the economy within Peru that the government has granted them permission to continue to do work there when other groups have been ejected from the country and denied future access.
A Benefit Gala was recently held to raise funds for future projects and to recognize individuals who have excelled in their efforts to help the organization. Special guest David Utrilla, Honorary Peruvian Consulate, addressed the gathering and told how the government came to the realization that Eagle Condor met a need within the country that should be encouraged and allowed. Utrilla thanked the organization for allowing “Peruvians to take ownership of their work, and recognizing that they are a proud people who do not want to just take hand-outs”.
Children within the upper villages of Peru are especially in need of learning to take care of themselves, including how to speak English, Timothy said.
Eagle Condor also provides micro-loans, training, supplies, and business support so that people can pull their own families out of poverty.
This avoids a common problem with overseas charity work. Many people do not think, when they contribute goods to underdeveloped countries, that they may be taking away opportunities.
For instance, when clothing is sent to a country where people already sew and produce clothes, the well-meaning charities take business away from individuals who are trying to provide an income for themselves.
Eagle Condor’s official mission statement is “To empower children and families by providing opportunities for self reliance”.
Learn more by visiting eagle-condor.org.