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Paul Manders - Getting Ready For an Adventure  Thumbnail

Paul Manders - Getting Ready For an Adventure

My youngest daughter Holly and I are leaving February 21st until March 1st to South America with a group of her classmates and teachers.

I am mentioning this for a few reasons.  One is that as a principal of the JMRD Watson Team, I will be totally out of communication for the first time I can remember.  That will illustrate the benefits of our large Team given this is RSP and tax season for our clients.  My emails and calls will be forwarded to great people on our Team that will help our clients while I am gone.

Another is that this trip highlights one of our JMRD Watson Team PILLARS. 

It is the S in PILLARS – Success with work/life and community harmony. 

For me, this will help with the life and community harmony in that it gives me 10 days disconnected with my youngest of 3 kids and am thinking about our community by helping people in a very different part of our overall global community. 

This trip is offered through her school through a great Canadian charity founded by two brothers from Toronto.   It is the We charity group started by Craig and Marc Kielburger over 20 years ago when Craig was only 12.  It started out as Free the Children when Craig saw a newspaper article about a child worker his age being dying.  It has blossomed into a global organization that does many great things, often through inspiring young people. 

I am excited to experience a very different part of the world with my daughter and help a great organization in some small way.  Specifically, I will be guarding my daughter from spiders, snakes and other creatures as she fights some personal fears throughout the adventure. 

Below I have included the website for the We charity group, some more detailed information about the We Villages area we are working through and then the details of the project and area of Ecuador and the Amazon that we will be working in. 

Thank you to our Team for allowing me to disconnect for this father/daughter adventure and thank you to our clients for working with our Team while I am away. 


WE Villages is an adaptive international development model built on two decades of working with communities and experts. Poverty isn’t the result of one single cause. Therefore, our model is neither a single solution nor a handout. Instead, it’s based on five pillars: education, water, health, food and opportunity. Each works in tandem to transform communities. Our local staff partner with communities and regional governments to support, teach and empower people to lift themselves out of poverty through these pillars. Our definition of success: impact that lasts for generations.

 Our work in Ecuador

 In 1999, we began working in the province of Chimborazo and in 2013 expanded our presence to the Amazon region. Both Chimborazo and the Amazon have some of the largest Indigenous populations in the country and also some of the highest poverty rates. Through WE Villages, we work in partnership with these communities to eliminate barriers that prevent children from accessing education, to improve health care and to open up income opportunities. We’ve worked hard to established long-standing partnerships with the local government, school principals and local community leaders, impacting over 40,000 people since 1999. To date, we have:

 Built and rehabilitated over 100 schoolrooms, classrooms, libraries, teachers’ offices and kitchens

Constructed a Women’s Empowerment Centre for artisans in both Chimborazo and the Amazon

Constructed the WE Agricultural Learning Center, enhancing the traditions and skills communities have relied on with new techniques, tools and diversified knowledge which contribute to poverty-reduction, agriculture and the environmental conservation and biodiversity of the rainforest

Supported the medical clinic in the community of Mondana that was set to close by partnering with the Ministry of Health to fully refurbish the clinic, confirm local doctors and provide significant outreach programs into the communities. This clinic serves 12 communities and over 1,500 people.

Depending on the community, day and time,  volunteering could be a variety of different activities—you could be laying bricks that will become a school, digging wells that will provide clean water, or planting crops that will grow into nourishing food. You’ll see the real results of your work as you volunteer alongside community members on WE Charity development projects. Your work will have an impact that will last for generations to come.

Our group will be working in the community of Kanambu and your build project will be a classroom at the local school.

Community Facts:

Entered community in (year): 2015 

Population: 480 

Number of Families: 89

Location:  Amazon Region of Ecuador, Napo Province (along a road on the route to Tena, about a 25 minute canoe ride and 30 minute drive from Minga Lodge) and 6 hour drive from the capital, Quito.   

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