On the evening of Saturday, April 16, Ecuador was hit by a 7.8 Richter scale earthquake—the same strength as the earthquake that struck Nepal almost exactly a year earlier. Ecuador’s coastal regions suffered the most damage, resulting in over 650 deaths, more than 4600 wounded, and nearly 200 missing. More than half a million residents of the hardest-hit areas have been displaced from their homes.
One of the most affected areas is Portoviejo, a city where two Enseña Ecuador participants were to begin teaching next week. The powerful earthquake left 80% of Portoviejo in ruins, with at least 120 schools completely destroyed and approximately 700 damaged, leaving more than 120,000 children unable to attend school. Fortunately, citizens, NGOs, government agencies and humanitarian relief efforts were quick to respond and are currently helping those in need.
In light of this tragedy, Enseña Ecuador is committed to ensuring that, as a country, Ecuador does not only cover the urgent needs of the affected communities, but also allocates resources to the recovery phase after the disaster—including channeling some of the aid efforts to education, which will be fundamental for children to overcome the crisis and return to normalcy as soon as possible.
To this end, Enseña Ecuador’s has launched the Ecuador Vuelve Al Aula (Ecuador Goes Back To School) campaign, which will aid local schools with resources necessary to start the school year. Actions will be centered around donations of financial and material resources needed to build temporary emergency schools, in collaboration with local school systems, governmental authorities, and other NGOs.
The campaign will be carried out in three phases: First, Enseña Ecuador will collect financial donations from the international community via its website. Next, the organization will lead a massive, month-long collection campaign in private and public schools in Quito and Guayaquil to gather basic school supplies. Finally, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other local NGOs, Enseña Ecuador will assemble and distribute supply kits to families in the affected cities. Any surplus funds raised will be allocated to the construction of emergency (temporary) schools.
To join the global effort to support the #EcuadorVuelveAlAula campaign and Enseña Ecuador’s commitment to help ensure children impacted by the earthquake can return to school as soon as possible, visit the campaign website. A donation of $80 provides a family of two children with the necessary school supplies for the entire 2016-2017 academic year.