UBECI's market programme has been interrupted due to restrictions put in place to contain the spread of Covid 19. Families have been hit hard by the loss of income as they are currently unable to work in the markets, with activity not resuming until June. This project will fund the salary of an outreach worker providing vital support to maintain contact and assist the 600 working children previously attending playgroups in the markets of Southern Quito, and now more vulnerable than ever.
Quito's markets have a high incidence of working children. These children face poverty, lack of education, abuse, neglect, and poor health . In the current crisis, many of the families UBECI supports are not allowed to work in the markets. Confined to small spaces, it is very difficult for these families to remain at home for long and accept the disappearance of their already meagre income, with children paying the consequences given the increase in cases of domestic abuse under lockdown.
The outreach workers have adapted their services, helping the children by telephone, providing emotional support, health and other advice, homework assistance. 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 relative's phone. The project will enable UBECI to maintain contact and offer support to vulnerable children and families to prevent school desertion during and after the pandemic.
During school closures it is more important than ever to work with families to ensure they prioritise their children's education. We need to ensure that ViaNinos' and UBECI's achievements over the past years in: Reducing working hours amongst the children; Growing school enrolment, academic achievement, preventing desertion; Providing medical care are not lost, but continue over the phone for now and in the market playgroups again in the future.