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Ecuador: working after the earthquake

Johana, 18 years old, a Plan International volunteer, is coordinating one of the shelters in Manabí with all she learned during trainings. These shelters are providing a safe space for children after the earthquake.

Johana volunteer shelter manabi ecuador earthquake
Johana, 18 years old, runs a shelter in Manabi. She was a sponsored child.

The Earthquake hit Ecuador on April 16, La Ciénaga was one of the most affected communities in Portoviejo, Manabí.

And people are living in shelters. 

This one has has 85 people, and it is coordinated by Johana, whom at 18 years of age, has been the leader of this shelter of 25 families. She has organized not only the donations they receive, but also space distribution. Johana has been in charge of every detail; donations are organized to reach the children and adults, different bathrooms for men and women, and most important, a special space for children, so that they could relax and forget the bad news that surround them.

“Many of the families in this shelter are here not only because of the earthquake, where they lost their house, but also because weeks ago flooding left many homeless. Now more than ever they need a home. In this shelter there are a lot of boys and girls”, she says.

a sponsored child

Johana has been part of Plan International´s process since she was a small child. She was a sponsored child; then she became a community volunteer, she was part of the “Because I am a Girl” campaign. She is also a project mediator, and community leader. She was supposed to start school this semester, but due to the condition she is in she does not know when she will be able to attend college.

“What I have learned with Plan International has helped express ourselves, and remember what we should do in these cases of disasters". 

What I learned as a volunteer has enabled me to run the shelter

"Plan should not leave behind all participation spaces, spaces like “Magic” where the children learn and have fun”.

“I am proud to be my community´s representative even though I am very young; what we have been through has been very hard for all of us”.

THE SHELTER: a space for protection

“We have built the shelter with a lot of effort, but it does not replace our home, this is no tour home. We need to be protected, men here are taking turns doing a night guard. The day of the earthquake we had some 300 people panicked. Just imagine, how can we assure our protection, and the children´s protection, in this case?

The girls in charge of directing the place have a list with the names of the representatives of each family, and the number of people they have in their charge. That way, they can give out food rations, clothes, and medication in an equitable manner, always prioritizing children.
“Little by little help is running out. The first days we had a lot of people (helping), but now, nothing”.
With Johana there are more than 30 children who were ready to start school and have lost everything. It is hard to go back to school without uniforms, shoes, school supplies, and worse yet, a place to live.

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