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Bupa Launches its 2009 International Charity Challenge to Help a Rural Community in Ecuador

MIAMI, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Bupa's Latin America and Caribbean operation -- a division of Bupa, a leading international healthcare company -- announced today the launch of the international Ecuador Challenge, which will take place in a deprived community in Ecuador where many families survive on average on just $4 a day. Some 120 Bupa employees from around the globe will travel to Ecuador until November 29 to build essential health and education facilities, which will provide healthcare, childcare, and opportunities for education and development for the small agricultural community of Miraflores.

Due to its remote location and virtually non existent income, a doctor currently visits Miraflores only six times a year, while children as young as four years old work in the fields, and babies less than two years old are left at home alone.

The Bupa volunteers will work alongside the Martha Estrella Foundation -- a registered charity based in Ecuador, which helps disadvantaged communities find lasting solutions to improve social and economic conditions.

The Ecuador Challenge is being wholly funded by Bupa, with volunteers aiming to raise $1,600 each, meaning that at least $192,000 will go towards improving the lives of the Miraflores community for the long term. All funds raised will benefit the community by providing a medical and dental facility; childcare services so children of the village can be safely looked after while their parents work; classrooms and education facilities, an Information Technology suite, and bedrooms for teachers to stay during their visits.

Truly an international project, the Ecuador Challenge will bring together Bupa employees from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Thailand, the United States, Latin America, and the United Kingdom, and is part of Bupa's long-term commitment to support the communities in which it operates.

Each volunteer will spend a week undertaking tasks ranging from helping with the construction of the community and health center and teaching English, to delivering healthcare programs to the local community.

"We're excited about the project in Ecuador, as it will allow all of us at Bupa to give back to the community and support the lives of the people of Miraflores," said David Maltby, managing director of Bupa Latin America and the Caribbean. "This challenge highlights Bupa's values and credentials. It gives our colleagues from around the world a chance to work together, share experiences, and make a difference in one of the countries we serve. The village of Miraflores is an underprivileged community; building and staffing this community complex will allow us to help look after and manage the health and education of the people who live and work there," he said.

"We're so fortunate to have Bupa help our community," said Jorge Gualotuna, president of the Community of Miraflores. "The center will help all of us take better care of our children and our health. We can't wait to work alongside them to get this project off the ground," he said.

"Bupa has a long-term commitment to support the communities in which it operates," said Pippa Vowles, head of corporate responsibility Bupa group. "The Ecuador Challenge is the biggest community project that Bupa has ever undertaken. Once it is completed, Bupa Latin American and the Caribbean's office will continue to support the clinic and community of Miraflores."

The progress of the Bupa Ecuador Challenge can be followed at

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