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Jun 8, 2020

CENIT update June 2020

As Coronavirus spreads around the world, it has touched almost every single country. Like in many Western countries, it’s hitting the poorest people the hardest. Ecuador is no exception. 

Ecuador recorded its first case of coronavirus at the beginning of March. By mid-April the country had the highest infection rate per capita in South America.

The government reacted swiftly with very strict measures – closed schools, enacted a total curfew from 2pm to 6am, and stopped all but essential activity such as healthcare. In spite of the measures taken, the virus spread at lightning speed particularly in the economic capital of the country, Guayaquil, where it is said that there aren’t enough coffins to bury the dead.

Whilst we welcome the introduction of ‘social distancing’ measures, we can’t ignore the impact this is having on the poorest. Confined to small spaces and with hardly any money, it is extremely difficult for poor families to remain at home for long. They can’t survive the disappearance of what is a meagre income at the best of times, with children especially paying the consequences.

Although the Ecuadorian government is trying to offer some relief to poorer families, it has limited resources and can’t offer rescue packages like developed countries. 

To counter the impact it has become all the more important for organisations like ViaNiños to lend a helping hand to our partner organisations in Ecuador.

CENIT continues to provide support where they can...

Whilst the usual activities at CENIT are temporarily suspended, staff are working hard to support the children and their families. Regular phone calls and contact help CENIT staff keep track of children so that they will return to CENIT's programmes once restrictions are lifted. The outreach worker is able to identify families which need extra support, provide advice about accessing government support and deliver food where needed. They can also help children with distance learning. 

We hope that the strict measures taken in Ecuador will soon lead to a visible containment and reduction of the virus’ spread and alleviate suffering of street and working children and their families from both a health and economic point of view.

At this most difficult of times, CENIT needs our help more than ever and we would really welcome your support.  

Links:

May 20, 2020

UBECI update May 2020

Thank you again to you all for your continued support of ViaNinos and UBECI, especially at this most difficult of times for the working and street children of the markets of Southern Quito!

Unfortunately the global spread of the Corona pandemic didn’t stop at Ecuador’s doors. The country recorded its first case of Corona virus at the beginning of March. By mid-April Ecuador had become the South American country with the highest infection rate per capita.

The government reacted swiftly with very strict measures – closing schools, total curfew from 2pm to 6am, a complete stop to all but essential activity. In spite of the measures taken, the virus spread at lightning speed.

Whilst we welcome the introduction of ‘social distancing‘ measures, we can’t ignore the impact this is having on the poorest. Confined to small spaces and with hardly any money, it is extremely difficult for poor families to remain at home for long and simply accept the disappearance of what is a meagre income at the best of times, with children especially paying the consequences.

Our partner organisation UBECI writes:

“Many of the families and children we support are no longer allowed to work in the markets, as they are itinerant vendors (although they represent 40% of sellers at the markets). These street vendors earn $ 3-4 a day at the most in normal circumstances. They have now lost the little income they were earning”.

This unfortunately typifies the situation in Ecuador and globally: the poor are hit the hardest by measures taken against the virus, and are at the same time those that can do the least to mitigate the consequences of the epidemic. Unfortunately cases of domestic abuse against women and children have also increased significantly and worryingly since the lockdown started.

Although the Ecuadorian government is trying to offer some relief to poorer families, it has limited resources and can’t offer the sort of support developed countries have.

We can also assume that support for international aid and the willingness to donate to developing countries will suffer as a consequence of the global economic crisis.

Let’s hope that the strict measures taken in Ecuador will soon lead to a visible containment and reduction of the virus’ spread and alleviate suffering of street and working children and their families from both a health and economic point of view.

The outreach workers are continuing their work as best as they can helping the children and their families by telephone with emotional support, health and other advice, and with homework, and providing some food assistance where possible. Think of the challenges of online schooling for these children, whose parents are often illiterate and who at best may have a WhatsApp connection on a relatives’ phone.

It is vital to remain close to these families in this moment of need and assist the children to avoid them dropping out of school now or when the lockdown ends. 

We need to ensure that ViaNinos’ and UBECI’s success over the past years in

Reducing working hours amongst the children

  • Growing school enrollment levels
  • Providing medical care, getting parents involved in their children’s health
  • Educating the children about their rights and how to exercise these

Is not lost, but continues over the phone now and in the market playgroups again later.

At this most difficult of times our partner organisations need our help more than ever and we would really welcome your support.

If you would like to continue supporting the project you may want to consider setting up a recurring donation. Even 5-10 pounds a month would make a difference!

I hope you are all well and are keeping safe in these challenging times.

Thank you.

The ViaNinos Team

Feb 10, 2020

CENIT update February 2020

Thank you for supporting CENIT’s street outreach programme!

At the end of last year, CENIT celebrated Christmas in style thanks to a special programme organised by students from the Central University of Ecuador. The children at CENIT also enjoyed the annual Pase del Niño, a religious festival involving a lively procession around the local area.

2020 looks set to be another busy year at CENIT… have you ever thought of volunteering? CENIT are looking for passionate and skilled volunteers to support CENIT's projects old and new. Suitable for someone interested in grassroots social development, NGO outreach, or nonprofit management.

CENIT are currently preparing for International Women’s Day in March (one of the biggest events of their calendar). Keep an eye on their facebook page over the next few weeks to hear stories of inspirational women and girls who are an example to us all.

CENIT’s staff care for vulnerable children day in and day out. Recently they have been practicing a little self-care too, thanks to a yoga session run by Peace-Corps volunteers! CENIT staff also began an exciting new training process to strengthen their methodology. In the first session, they assessed the specific needs of the school and community and started building a foundation for change. Let’s see what comes next!

Once again thank you for being part of the fight to eradicate child labour. Together we can get more children out of dangerous working environments and into school.

Christmas celebrations
Christmas celebrations
Pase del Nino
Pase del Nino
Training session
Training session
 
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