Emigration is the act of leaving one's native country or region to settle in another. There are many reasons why people might choose to emigrate. Some are for reasons of religious, political or economic freedom or escape.
In the past 25 years, Ecuador has experienced two major waves of emigration, sending 10 to15 percent of Ecuadorians overseas, mostly to Spain, the UnitedStates, Italy, and Venezuela.
In 2005, Spain reported an Ecuadorian population of 487,239; the vast majority live in Madrid (35 percent), Barcelona (18 percent), and Valencia/Murcia (22.8 percent). Some analysts consider the official figure to be an undercount because not all Ecuadorians in Spain are registered. If that is the case, then the Ecuadorian population in Spain may be between 550,000 and600,000.
Almost one million Ecuadorians—14 percent of the adult population—receive remittances from relatives living abroad. These remittances totaled $1.5 billion in 2002 and are continuing to increase in volume in 2003. Remittances equal one-third of the value of Ecuador’s total exports.
Until now, there was only a vague idea of how this money is sent, what it is spent on, if some of it goesinto savings, which sector of the population benefits and why people left the country in the first place.
Now some of this information is starting to come in. The decision to emigrate is the product of a family consensus, in which the younger, healthier and best-equipped family members were chosen to make the journey. Spain is a popular destination, because it is easier for an immigrant to attainlegal status there.
The massive emigration that Ecuador has suffered in the last five years was a response to the national economic crisis of 1998 and 1999, caused by the closure of the banks, devaluation and financial instability.
The decision on how to spend the money is made by the recipient in 80 percent of cases. A large number of respondents indicated that the remittances are vital toensure their survival; the great majority of Ecuadorians use the remittances for everyday expenditures: rent, food and medicine. In general, the remittances help the most vulnerable members of society, children and the elderly, and cover the deficiencies in state services.
What are the effects of emigration in children left behind?
Place in society
Sierra Morena is a neighborhood in themountains around Bogotá. This is where Teresa Díaz and Diva Trujillo live. Both are victims of the violence that one day pushed them out of their homes. What awaited them was “forced displacement,” one of the greatest disasters that affect the lives and safety of thousands of Colombians every year.
A year ago, when their lives seemed especially bleak, Teresa and Diva decided to turn their misfortuneinto a source of hope and opportunities for other people who have fled their homes for Bogotá in search of anonymity and safety.
A chaotic scene, created by the dynamics of war, internal conflict and violence—which grew more intense in the 1980s and 1990s—forced displacement has been accompanied by discrimination, dispossession and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.The problem has been exacerbated by drug traffickers.
Teresa and Diva say their initiative grew out of seeing women and their children sleeping in the streets. “We wanted to help women who had recently come to the capital and didn’t have anywhere to go, no place to sleep,” Teresa says. “We want all women to help each other, because all of us are suffering the same catastrophe.”
On December 24,2004, after long, exhausting days of walking, with no money in their pockets, they found a house in Sierra Morena that they rented for 250,000 pesos (approximately US$105) a month with the help of a loan from Casa de la Mujer, a nongovernmental organization.
That night, accompanied by 38 families, Teresa and Diva overcame their biggest worry at the time: having a place to sleep and something to...