ViaNinos UK will support the street outreach programme at CENIT by financing the salary of a local social worker. CENIT runs play groups in the markets of the poorest sectors of Ecuador's capital city, Quito. Volunteers and social workers identify working children and build trust with families in order to offer the chance to enter the education system.
Child labour is one of the consequences of poverty in Ecuador. Many poor and indigenous people move to the city in search of a better life. When they arrive they face a very different social and economic reality and children end up out of school and working alongside their parents at the markets. They work long hours in dangerous environments and as a result do not receive the education, opportunities or medical care needed for healthy development. These children are also at risk of abuse.
Volunteers and social workers identify working children and invite them to join the outreach programme. School age children are supported into the education system and preschool children are provided with educational and recreational activities in preparation for starting school. The children are taught good hygiene habits and are accompanied to the dentist or doctor as needed. They also get to have fun and learn together in a safe environment. Families are involved at each stage too.
Street outreach is the important first stage of a process of supporting children through the education system. In the long-term, these children will be able to get education and training, which will allow them to secure employment, break the poverty cycle and lead a life of dignity.