We're on the move! Our project sustains a successful Children's Library in a coastal Ecuador town hit by a 7.8 earthquake. We run a Library and Bus to support neighboring community libraries. We are empowering Girls and Women through educational programs to unsettle patriarchal mores that marginalized their mothers. Your support enables us to continue and expand our much-needed gender equality programs throughout a coastal corridor of liberating libraries in rural Manabi.
While 73% of girls in canton Jama register in elementary school only 1% reach college and 15% are economically active. Teenage pregnancy is pervasive, leaving young women in dependent situations for the rest of their lives. While living in this tiny fishing village seems idyllic on the surface, there is an underlying pattern of abuse against girls and women, resulting in domestic violence and child abuse. 7 out of 10 young girls have been abused before reaching adulthood.
Our Children's Library deals with gender issues. We pay specific attention to girls ages 10-12 because we believe that nourishing young girls' self-esteem through reading, acting, dance, and sports will enable them to develop a healthy sense of their bodies as a territory they command. At the same time, we are working with their young male peers in masculinity workshops and activities that will help them become respectful and equal partners for future strong women.
Educational assistance increases school graduation and trains girls for skilled labor and professions. Sports and arts programs open an array of healthy opportunities to mingle between genders. Our Library is an example other neighboring communities are replicating. With our new library bus we will be able to reach over 1.300 women and girls in communities surrounding Don Juan. All our educational programs promote gender equality, social organization, local leadership, and cultural awareness.