Plan International to set up 60 safe spaces for children in wake of Ecuador earthquake

by Plan International | planglobal | Plan International
Thursday, 28 April 2016 10:04 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(QUITO, ECUADOR) – A SERIES of child-friendly spaces is being set up in the wake of the Ecuador earthquake, to support the needs of children, says child rights and humanitarian organisation Plan International Ecuador.

The safe spaces – many of which just opened their doors – will provide education, support and protection for young girls, boys and adolescents.

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 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 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.

Plan 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 normalcy as quickly as possible is a priority for Plan International Ecuador.

According to Viteri: “There is an urgency to guarantee that these boys and girls can go back to school, and the the child-friendly spaces 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.

Plan International is appealing for funds for its humanitarian response to support the earthquake-affected communities in Ecuador. The funds raised will be used for food assistance, child protection and education among other measures.

Support Plan International’s response to the Ecuador earthquake: https://plan-international.org/ecuador-appeal

ENDS

For further details or interviews, contact:

Plan International Headquarters (London): Angela Singh, Global Press Officer Email: angela.singh@plan-international.org Mobile: +44 (0) 7773 636 180

Plan International in Latin America and the Caribbean (Panamá):
Maytee Zachrisson, Regional Media Specialist
Email: maytee.zachrisson@plan-international.org
Mobile: +507 667-0945