As COVID continues to inflict suffering in Quito and Ecuador, school desertion rates are rising as families experience continued hardship. Many children are now suffering from depression.
Currently UBECI can only work in one of the four markets where its playgroups used to meet before the onslaught of COVID. A large hall, where a degree of social distancing is possible, is now being used for playgroups at Sangolquí market. UBECI’s social workers are also visiting the other markets three times a week, talking to the children and their families at their food stands.
Amongst families that usually work in the markets, many have lost their jobs and several families have been forced to move in together in limited space. As a result domestic violence and abuse has grown. UBECI social workers still regularly visit the children and their families at home to check on their wellbeing. They are also keeping in touch with them by phone.
Children continue to struggle with online learning. Some don’t have an internet connection and, in the families that do, there are no computers and at best only one mobile phone for the whole family. Computer and print shops are still closed.
UBECI has nevertheless found a way to help and teach children when they visit them through interactive stories, designed with the help of the educational psychologist, using drawings and puppets to help with reading, communication and their education more broadly. Positive results of the pilot are leading to the roll out of the project more broadly for children at home and in the markets.
Thank you for your continued support of ViaNiños and UBECI. Your assistance has been essential in continuing to provide assistance to poor children in Quito whose already precarious access to education and wellbeing is being challenged now more than ever.