SALEM and Mindo in times of Corona
In an interview, Jonas Lange, the project manager of SALEM International in Mindo, Ecuador, tells us how the Corona pandemic has affected the children and youth center.
How has the virus changed SALEM?
From March to mid-September, the center could not take care of any children or adolescents due to Corona but since September, thanks to a detailed hygiene plan, children and adolescents can meet again in the SALEM center, but only in small groups of 5 to 7 children. In order to accommodate more children, we have shortened the hours of care (one group in the morning and one in the afternoon) Now about 70 children and adolescents come to us per week.
For several months now, we have been offering psychosocial care to children and women who have experienced or are experiencing violence and abuse. The already high number of cases of domestic violence and (sexual) abuse in Ecuador grew even more due to the curfew. In addition, there is hardly any therapeutic support and we, as an organization, therefore want to offer active prevention, for which, however, we urgently need financial support.
What worries us?
At the end of January, the schools in Ecuador closed, so that since then the children and young people had no face-to-face classes, which led to school absences, because on the one hand the schools are not very well organized, but on the other hand the families do not have access to online learning, because the money is missing. This prevented the children and young people from learning even a little, so that a few parents decided to take their children out of school. Unfortunately, there is still no prospect of school starting again in the near future.
Will there be any positive news from Corona?
Former children and teenagers of the project like Johana started a correspondence course and returned to Mindo so that they can now help in SALEM. We are very happy to see everyone healthy and committed again!
And what will happen in the future with SALEM?
We are planning to create more social support and more awareness about violence against children and women around Mindo.
In order to promote the work with young people even more, Jonas Lange hopes that in about five years a youth center will already have been built where the young people can find a safe space where they can develop freely without external constrictions. In addition, he would like to see former SALEM youths take over the management of SALEM-Ecuador. Since they know the project best – as a child and as a staff member, this would be a great enrichment for SALEM.