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Plan International: Students Return to School in Ecuador’s Earthquake-affected Areas

QUITO – Eight hundred earthquake-affected children have returned to temporary schools in Ecuador, with the support of Plan International.

According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 560 schools have been affected by the earthquake that struck on Saturday, April 16th, with 166 schools suffering medium to severe damage. UNICEF estimates that 120,000 children have been left temporarily out of school.

Temporary classrooms have been set up in tents in Pedernales, Manabi, to ensure children can safely return to education. The initiative has been spearheaded by Plan International – a leader in education and protection in humanitarian settings - with the support of the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

According to Veronica Zambrano, Program Manager for Plan International Ecuador: “Girls and boys in earthquake-affected communities can now resume their education which is their right. It is a vital step in regaining a sense of normality for children.”

Plan International has been working closely with the Ministry of Education to develop a new academic curriculum, focused on the recovery of children affected by the earthquake. The material will be given to 25,000 teachers across the coastal zone, so they are able to support children suffering from various forms of stress caused by the earthquake.

Plan has also trained more than 150 teachers on subjects such as emotional recovery. In total, 300 teachers will be trained on how to support children affected by disasters. “We’ve made a huge effort to equip teachers with educational techniques so they can support girls, boys, and teenagers who’ve lived thought a traumatic situation like this one,” said Zambrano.

As Ecuador continues to puts itself back together, a large shelter in Portoviejo airport has been opened, providing child-friendly spaces to those in need. Child-friendly spaces are safe areas where girls, boys, and teenagers can play and learn to be children again, allowing them to build resilience and overcome the stress of the situation.

In addition to the temporary classrooms and child-friendly spaces, Plan International Ecuador has distributed more than 3,500 hygiene and food kits to the most affected population in Manabí.

Plan International is appealing for funds for its humanitarian response to support the earthquake-affected communities in Ecuador. The funds raised will be used for food assistance, child protection and education among other measures.

Plan International started working in Ecuador in 1962, in the urban marginal areas of the City of Guayaquil. Today, more than 800,000 people (400,000 girls and boys) participate in our projects across Azuay, Bolívar, Cañar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Guayas, Loja, Los Ríos, Manabí, Pichincha, and Santa Elena provinces. We work in more than 1,000 communities to ensure that girls, boys, and adolescents in the country can fulfil their potential by fully exercising their rights. Our core areas of activity include:

  • Promoting safe, healthy, affectionate, and stimulating environments for children;
  • Improving food security;
  • Supporting a “good treatment culture” among children, teenagers, and adults; and
  • Fostering spaces for children and teenagers to express themselves and participate in decisions affecting their lives.

About Plan International USA

Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.

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