Six months after a massive earthquake rocked Ecuador, thousands of children have benefited from UNICEF's support of relief and recovery efforts. Many schools have reopened, and the number of people living in official shelters has dropped by more than two-thirds. UNICEF has helped provide nutritional supplements for hundreds of thousands of children and access to safe water to tens of thousands more. Still, meeting the needs of children living in informal shelters and rural areas remains a significant challenge. UNICEF Ecuador's Andrea Andrea Artunduaga reports on the education situation in the earthquake zone.
After the 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador caused destruction throughout schools in Manabi, many families wondered what would happen to their children’s education.
"I felt I was about to die, and my only thought was 'where are my grandchildren going to study?'" says Ana Campos. For her, the loss of her granddaughter Ana Karina’s school was a devastating tragedy.
"When the school was destroyed, my family and I were worried about my studies," says Ana Karina. At 11 years of age, she suffered the loss of family members and witnessed the destruction of her house and school. The earthquake left approximately 120,000 children and adolescents without educational spaces in the provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas.
After the earthquake, temporary educational spaces were installed in order for the children to continue their studies. Grandmother Ana Campos claims that, "If this space had not been installed here, the children would not have a place to study," adding that her financial situation would not have allowed her to help her family.
Today, Ana Karina, along with another 200 children and adolescents from Tabuga, attends school in the UNICEF temporary educational spaces provided as part of the support for the national government.
"I get to play, do homework and enjoy physical education class," Ana Karina proudly reports.
Over 13,000 children and adolescents have benefited from the temporary educational spaces provided by UNICEF, and more than 34,000 have been provided with educational materials.
UNICEF has been working in Ecuador since 1973 to promote the well-being of the country's children and adolescents.