About the community
Guayaquil, Ecuador

The service that SEA-El Carmen offers is quality education for an impoverished community in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Large disparities between rich and poor are a persistent fact of life in Ecuador. Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian children are more likely to grow up in poverty and face difficulties in access to education.

Issues facing children in Ecuador*

■ Stunting growth from chronic malnutrition affects 26% of children under 5.  Rates are markedly worse for indigenous children.
■ Ecuador's constitution guarantees free basic education for all children. But in practice, schools operate on such limited budgets that families must cover the cost of books, teaching materials and utilities.  These fees hinder poor families from sending their children to school.
■ Net primary school enrolment rates are above 97%, but only about half of all students enroll in secondary school.  Between the ages of 12 and 17, 16% of students drop out in order to work.

There is no other nearby elementary school for the children in the impoverished community being served by SEA-El Carmen.  The only other medical clinic remotely nearby is not trusted by the community because it is said to merely renew current prescriptions for patients.

The organization began community development by building a medical clinic, which has helped provide basic health care interventions to reduce illness since its opening.  Adult TB cases were identified and treated with case management while initiating a child vaccination program.  SEA-El Carmen next built a new elementary school, hired teachers to staff the classrooms and developed curriculums.   Most of the children in the community were malnourished and needed to be properly fed in order to succeed well in school.  SEA-El Carmen recently constructed a new kitchen facility with a cafeteria for the elementary school, which provides nutritional support for the students.

* http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ecuador.html