Day 5: Children’s Day at the Earthquake Shelters

As part of EEFIT mission and conduction community vulnerability assessment to earthquake disasters, I visited earthquake refugee shelters in Canoa and Jama, Manabi province, Ecuador. Interestingly, it was Children’s Day (Día del Niño) in Ecuador. I came to know that every year on 1st of June they celebrate this day and kids up to 12 years old receive gifts. Our community vulnerability team surveyed three shelters: two controlled by the Ecuadorian Army, and the other one by a local NGO named Deja Tu Huella por Manabi. It was nice to see that all the refugee camps have special recreational, educational and sports facilities for the children. As part of the national children’s day activities like concert, face painting, mural drawing; free-hand painting competition were arranged, and gifts were distributed among the children.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.36.29 PMThe Army & Navy Officials have arranged a concert and are singing for 
the children in a refugee camp in Canoa, Ecuador.
Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.39.06 PM
Children are taking part in a painting competition and drawing murals 
in a refugee camp run by the local NGO- Deja Tu Huella por Manabi.
Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.43.33 PM
(a) Parents and children are waiting in queue, and (b) a child with her 
gift provided by the Deja Tu Huella por Manabi.
Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.48.09 PM
Children’s recreation centre in a refugee camp in Jama, Ecuador.

Many schools are now closed and children are expected going back to school soon. The shelters are providing education and arranging other activities for the children. It is important for the children to overcome the mental trauma from the earthquakes and the kind of activities as organized by the agencies is unique and highly appreciated. The shocks from any disaster can put long-term negative impact on children; therefore, they should be taken care of properly. I hope the government will keep supporting the shelters and the international donors will continue humanitarian aid as per public demand. I wish early recovery for the affected people so that they can go back to their normal life and livelihoods. Let the fearless joy of the innocence overcome all the difficulties, happy Children’s Day (Día del Niño) from Ecuador!

© Bayes Ahmed, University College London (UCL), UK.

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