Oct 4, 2020

CENIT Ecuador update October 2020

In a recent report from Gladys, Programme Coordinator at CENIT, she writes that “every Ecuadorian family has suffered the loss of friends or relatives to Covid-19. It is terribly sad.”

The situation in Ecuador has not improved since our last report, but CENIT staff have been working hard to support the children and families who participate in their programmes. Please read on to find out more about what they have been doing to help…

CENIT have distributed emergency food parcels to families twice a month since April. In July, staff conducted home visits and helped students to prepare and submit their portfolios of work to make sure they could pass the school year. The students of the vocational training centre, which teaches tailoring, participated in virtual classes during lockdown so they were only able to pass the theoretical part of the course and will have to undertake the practical part from November to July 2021.

CENIT staff work face to face with small groups on some days and through online teaching on other days. They visit children and families regularly at their homes and workplaces. They stay in touch through phone calls, video calls, WhatsApp messages etc. In the markets, they have identified many more children working and begging.

The new school year began on the 1st September with a virtual event. Teachers have given out folders of schoolwork for children who don’t have access to online learning. The tutoring programme is also functioning virtually, but small groups of children can attend CENIT for help with homework if they can’t access the online learning. CENIT have some local volunteers helping with this.

In September, CENIT also started a new project with the support of the Harris-Fraser foundation. Families were given 15 credits (to the value of $50) to help them restart informal work and small businesses.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to work in the San Roque market as the incidence of Covid is so high there.

CENIT have benefitted from the help of volunteers from universities in Quito but have had to temporarily suspend their volunteering programme for the rest of this year.

ViaNinos continues to support CENIT and the incredible work they are doing in extremely difficult conditions. We were delighted to collaborate with Rotary clubs in the UK, Germany and Ecuador to provide 3 laptops for CENIT to support the online learning.

With many thanks for your support.

Sep 18, 2020

UBECI update September 2020

The situation in Ecuador has gone from bad to worse over the last 6 months. In spite of a stringent lockdown that was put in place in March and slowly lifted from June onwards, the virus spread exponentially in and from Guayaquil with Quito turning into the epicentre over the summer.

Beyond the direct, dramatic impact on health and the heavy death toll amongst the poor, lockdown has pushed this part of the population into extreme poverty, as the lockdown all but eliminated the already meagre income families were scratching together when markets closed.

UBECI continued to visit the children and their families at home for as long as it was possible. Its educational psychologist has been working closely with and supporting children and families who are victims of the significant increase in domestic violence, by helping them find ways of containing and dealing psychologically with the violence.

3 out of 5 UBECI employees contracted COVID in August, but have now thankfully recovered and are back at work. Communication and support for the families for the moment continues by phone, as the team plans to re-start market activities in the next few weeks.

The market playgroups will be designed to focus on education. Many of these children have not been able to access school or online classes since the start of the lockdown. UBECI’s team will work to ensure they make up for the lost ground.

ViaNinos’ and your support is all the more critical at this difficult time in Ecuador and Quito, in ensuring that the progress made over the years by UBECI in providing working children with an education and access to healthcare continues.

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.  


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