These safe spaces – many of which have just opened their doors – will provide education, support and protection for young girls, boys and adolescents.
The move comes as Plan International continues to deliver life-saving aid to earthquake hit communities – including distributing food and water, sleeping kits and hygiene kits.
According to Rossana Viteri, Country Director of Plan International Ecuador: “In emergency situations, the needs of girls and boys are often forgotten, leaving them vulnerable to abuse. That’s why we are working with authorities to set up these child-friendly spaces to provide protection for those in need.”
So far, the earthquake on 16 April has claimed the lives of over 650 people and injured over 16,600. According to the UN, over 280 schools have been damaged by the earthquake, leaving up to 120,000 children temporarily without education.
Child-friendly spaces, locally known as ‘Intelligence Factories’, are safe areas where children can learn, play and be children, in the midst of often chaotic surroundings. In Ecuador, children will also be able to take part in playful and sports-oriented activities, aimed at generating resilience and overcoming the trauma experienced during the earthquake.
Donate to the Ecuador appealPlan International will be setting up 60 child-friendly spaces over the coming months across different rural communities in Manabí, benefitting 30,000 boys and girls.
These safe spaces will also provide support and education for parents where they can learn about self-esteem, resilience, nutrition and child protection.
Protecting the needs of children and ensuring they can return to a normal routine as quickly as possible is a priority for Plan International Ecuador.
Joining hands for children
According to Viteri: “There is an urgency to guarantee that these boys and girls can go back to school, and the ‘Intelligence Factories’ will contribute to this.”
Over 600 volunteers, many of whom are former sponsored children of Plan International Ecuador, have joined hands to ensure these spaces are created as quickly as possible, under the supervision of Plan International.
“It is very important to have the support of these young people,” says Viteri. “It proves our work is strengthening communities. Many villagers have even told us that, thanks to the disaster preparedness training provided by Plan International, they knew what to do to survive this tragedy.”
In addition to these child-friendly spaces, Plan International Ecuador has distributed more than 3,500 hygiene and food kits to the most affected population in Manabí.