Last week, MEDLIFE staff and volunteers worked with the Atahualpa neighborhood in Tena, Ecuador to paint and restore the local day care school in the area. Volunteers worked for 4 days sanding, repainting and In addition to the volunteers, many parents of children in the nursery came out to work in afternoons and weekends.
The day care is run by the Instituto Sumak Kawsay Wasi, a government social program whose mission is to attend to the provinceâ€™s most vulnerable and low-income sectors. MEDLIFE has worked with Sumak Kawsay Wasi to facilitate relationships with local communities around Tena.
The day care school is a valuable resource for the community where many mothers have children at a young age. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Latin America with an estimated 21% of women giving birth to a child before the age of 18 (UNFPA 2013).
Talking with women around the area, the lack of access to proper healthcare and low wages are apparent. Mothers will skip meals to feed their children. The government provides subsidized food to children in schools however the quality and nutritional value of these has dropped in the last two years.
Yadira TacoamÃ¡n grew up close to Tena and works with Sumak Kawsay Wasi. She says the school is important not just as a relief for parents in the area, but also in helping the children acheive a better future.
â€œThis is very important work being done to benefit the most vulnerable people such as the Kichwa people,â€ TacoamÃ¡n said. â€œThereâ€™s an organization to provide the necessary help to the most vulnerable people of Napo.â€
MEDLIFE will continue to work in the Atahualpa neighborhood with mobile clinics and the day care school to benefit the people there.