Barbarita Pichasaca

Barbarita Pichasaca, left, with an employee of the banking cooperative she founded in Cañar after several years in the United States. Photo by Bear Guerra for The New York Times.

For the 60,000 residents of Cañar, Ecuador, the costs of migration can be great, especially on children. But the benefits can be great as well: unprecedented access to education and jobs, freedom of movement and financial independence for women, especially indigenous women, whether they left and returned, or never left.

Homelands’ Ruxandra Guidi and Bear Guerra discuss the two faces of migration in Ecuador in an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times. Their reporting was supported by the International Reporting Project.

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Back in the early 1990s, Homelands Productions reported on the contamination of portions of the Ecuadorean Amazon by the American oil giant Texaco. Today a judge in Ecuador ordered Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001, to pay $9 billion in damages. The company will appeal, but the ruling is an important step in a process that has been held up for decades.

You can hear a 24-minute piece from the Vanishing Homelands series by clicking here. Or you can download it here. The story was produced by Sandy Tolan and Nancy Postero.