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Ecuador earthquake survivors share their stories

A year on from the Ecuador earthquake of April 2016, children have learned to overcome what they have experienced and become more resilient to emergencies through child-friendly spaces installed by Plan International.

Érika Solís, 18, mother of Alison Micaela, 10 months

Érika Solís, 18, and her daughter Alison, 10 months, are taking part in child friendly spaces
“My daughter was born two days after the earthquake struck. Our house in Manabi collapsed. It was completely destroyed and we still live in a tent with my in-laws and the baby.” - Érika

“My daughter was born on April 18, 2016, just 2 days after the earthquake struck. On the day of the earthquake, I was already admitted to the hospital in Guayaquil.

"I think the baby came earlier than expected because I was in shock. Our house in Manabi collapsed.  It was completely destroyed and we still live in a tent with my in-laws and the baby. There are only 2 beds in the tent and we have little privacy. The worst thing is that we still don’t know when we will have a house and be able to leave the tent.

My daughter was born just two days after the earthquake struck ... We live in a tent with my in-laws and the baby.

“My mother-in-law encouraged me to come to the child-friendly space because she knows the work of Plan International. I want my baby to be cared for and fed, and here they are teaching me how to do it. When Alison arrived I was only 17, so I was a very young mum and didn’t know anything about how to take care of her or how to feed her. This has helped me a lot to make her grow up healthy, despite the situation we are going through."

Erika, 10 years old

Erika, 10, is overcoming her fears thanks to Plan International's child friendly spaces.
Erika, 10, is overcoming her fears thanks to Plan International's child friendly spaces.

“In the child-friendly space, we are taught things we do not learn at home. When the earthquake hit, I was at home alone, this is why it was very hard for me to be in a closed placed for a long time.

"I am losing fear because I used to imagine that the house would fall on me. For me, to be here is a lot of fun. They taught me, my mum and my cousins what we have to do in case there is another earthquake or a tsunami.  In my house, we have already prepared our emergency backpack and it makes me feel calmer”.

José Alejandro, 14, sponsored boy

José Alejandro, 14, is a sponsored child who enjoys his time at Plan International's child friendly space.
José Alejandro, 14, is a sponsored child who enjoys his time at Plan International's child friendly space.

“That day I was on the soccer field and the ground started moving a lot. We could see how the light poles bent like chewing gum. I ran to my house and when I arrived my parents were crying and scared.

"In my house, only a wall fell, but we had to go to a shelter until being sure the house was safe to return to or not. At first, I did not know what the child-friendly spaces were, but I started to come and I really liked it. I find it entertaining and fun.

"Now it is me who reassures my parents when there are aftershocks because I already know what I have to do. Our space is very beautiful and there are a lot of things to do! If you come here, you could have fun learning!”

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