At first glance, the two sewing machines on Gina’s front porch look ordinary. They sit on a modest wooden table surrounded by plastics bags of fabric, dresses and t-shirts hanging from racks. The house where Gina, her children, and her sewing machines live is in the middle of El Floron 4 – one of the roughest neighborhoods of Portoviejo, Ecuador. Gina’s setup may be modest, but together with an upstart group of seamstresses, she is doing something extraordinary.
On June 16th, AVSI Ecuador received a very special visit from Michael Fitzpatrick, the US Ambassador to Ecuador. Ambassador Fitzpatrick visited a multifamily housing unit, where AVSI has intervened with structural adjustments to guarantee a dignified living situation for the seven Venezuelan families who live there.
The activities in multifamily housing units are part of the larger “Integrados” project, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). “Integrados” seeks to incorporate Venezuelans into Ecuadorian society through dignified shelter, access to social and legal services, and opportunities to generate income.
On Thursday, June 10, AVSI’s “Integrados” Project Manager Estefania Gomez was a featured presenter in a workshop held jointly by the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and researchers from Pennsylvania State University.
Children in Ivory Coast engage in the worse forms of child labor, including harvesting cocoa and coffee. Although school is mandatory for children ages 6 to 16, approximately 23% of primary school-aged children and 41% of secondary-school-aged children are not enrolled in school, with the highest rates in the country’s North, Northwest, and West regions.
“Today, we must force children to go to school. Sometimes, we even must get them in the field. Once, I had to ask one of my inspections and a teacher to come with me to the field. As a result, we found 15 children working and brought them back to school,” explains Sylvain Douhouretagoh, Inspector of Primary Education in Korhogo.
After months fighting starvation, cold, family separation, and sexual harassment, Marvelis’ family enjoys a peaceful and safe house, thanks to the PRM-funded Project “Integrados”
Every morning, Pamela followed the same routine. She would wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her two children. But, like many other women in her community, the Kamwenge refugee settlement in Uganda, she didn’t have the basic skills to prepare healthy meals.
At first, Margarita and Griselda thought the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge they were not ready to face.
“COVID changed our lives. At first, we lost our jobs; we had to lock ourselves up. My children couldn’t go to school, and I had to be a teacher for them, and check their homework,” says Margarita.
“I used to wash, cook and clean while children were at school, but once they were home all the time and I had to check their homework, the house was a chaos, and it was very stressful for them, and for me” echoes Griselda.
Thanks to AVSI’s Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program, Ama discovers a passion for reading and shares it with friends in Ivory Coast.
The Beirut Explosion of August 4, 2020 left behind an explosion of feelings as its impact extended deeper and beyond the direct destruction of surrounding areas affecting the psychological conditions of people from different ages and diverse backgrounds.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the most vulnerable people in Karantina heal from the trauma and psychological wounds caused by the devastating blast and rebuild a strong social structure of active survivors.
The school year started in Ivory Coast on September 14, with children timidly returning back to their classrooms. Precautions such as wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are taken seriously and enforced. Teachers are beginning the year with ‘catch-up’ classes to address the interruption which started back in March. AVSI is working alongside teachers, parents and students to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school and ensuring that education continues. The activity is part of the USDA-funded project, “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program.”