UNESCO’s Santiago regional office is working with the Ecuador Education Ministry, UNICEF, Plan International and Save the Children to find temporary solutions to improve Ecuador’s education sector in the months following its worst natural disaster in decades.

The earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 26 left parts of the country in ruins, killed more than 650 people and left many more injured, according to The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Their report states that some 73,000 displaced people live in organized shelters and camps, either with host families or in random sites around the country.

The goal is to establish temporary educational spaces that allow the continuation of classes and educational activities in secure spaces so that the primary and secondary education of children is not further disrupted following the earthquake.

“Education is a lifeline for children going through the trauma of chaos and destruction,” said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in Ecuador. “It helps give them a daily routine and a sense of purpose and puts them on track for psychological recovery.” Education is key for these children, both short term and long term.

According to UNICEF, over 280 schools were damaged by the earthquake. This left approximately 120,000 children out of education.

UNICEF is currently working with the Ecuadorian government to help children return to their regular routines by providing 50 temporary learning spaces for 20,000 children. The organization also aims to distribute basic school supplies to 60,000 children and teenagers in 700 different schools.

Michelle Simon

Photo: Flickr