On April 16th, 2016 a 7.8 earthquake hit the coastal provinces of Ecuador leaving behind hundreds of deaths and thousands of families deprived of their belongings and homeless. Soon after, the couple that now lead A Mano Manaba packed their pet donkey Domingo with some children´s books and games and headed down from the wreckage of their house on the hill towards the small fishing village of Don Juan. They spent some afternoons reading to the children and talking to the neighbors. They soon realized children were using the books and games as a tool to overcome their fears and confusion and it gave everyone a sense of purpose amid the madness of those days. We are looking to replace Domingo the library donkey with a Library bus that can reach out to other children in even more isolated villages of Jama canton.
A mano Manaba wants to continue and improve the reading programs that are running in Don Juan and extend them towards other villages of Jama canton. The library bus will offer activities to increase and improve reading levels for approximately 700 people, including children, adolescents, adults and seniors. It will bring teacher training programs to rural schools. With the library bus A mano manaba will support educational, health, social, environmental and leadership programs and campaigns. A mano Manaba connects local and international volunteering to strenghthen social fabric of the communities of Jama canton and Manabí province.
Enhancing reading, writing and communication skills, especially among young people, will increase school attendance and graduation rates, along with better opportunities to enter College or access to better jobs. A visiting Library bus can help them reconstruct their communities turning tragedy into opportunities to improve. Five years from now, we expect to increase literacy and school attendance in these communities. Well informed and articulate individuals will lead healthier social dynamics in empowered communities.