We’re starting with the basics. In Ecuador 18% of kids do not achieve what the government considers a basic level of education – completion of ten years of primary school, the equivalent of finishing elementary and junior high in the United States. And of those who do, only 50% go on to high school. Our goal is to help children complete the basic level of education and be prepared to continue to high school and more.
In Ecuador, even public schools charge nominal school fees and require that each student purchase school uniforms, school supplies, and any books the school can’t provide. For poor families, these costs can be prohibitive and it’s not uncommon for a second grader to miss a year, or for a sixth grader to drop out entirely because their families couldn’t afford to enroll them in school.
Humanity Corps partners with community-based foundations in Ecuador to provide scholarships for kids in these circumstances. Each scholarship pays for school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and books. But the scholarships do much more than just cover costs. We’re committed to helping our students succeed once they’re enrolled in school. So we provide workshops to teach study skills, to discuss goal setting, and to talk with families about parenting skills. Also, the progress of each student is tracked and extra tutoring is available. When needed, experienced social workers provide family counseling.
Starting in 2009, we added a health component to each scholarship to provide parasite medication, vitamin supplements for balanced nutrition, basic medical exams, and health education workshops for the whole family.
We’re preparing our students to move on to high school by providing a basic level of education and the tools to be successful in their studies and in their lives. We believe in education. We believe education is essential in helping individuals out of poverty, in strengthening families, in developing productive citizens, and influencing the social fabric of a nation.