Centro Educativo Nova
In mid-2016, Ecuador Cares entered into a long-term relationship with Centro Educativo NOVA, a unique school that focuses on an integrated approach to education that mixes traditional and disabled students. The school has an enrollment of approximately 105 children, ranging from 7-13, and in some cases up to 18 for the extremely disabled. Of the total enrollment, approximately 35 of the children have some sort of disability, including autism.
NOVA’s core educational philosophy is that inclusion is simply a question of attitude and that all children, regardless of ability, benefit now and in the future from learning, working, and playing together. The program centers on respect, kindness and acceptance of the individual with no bullying allowed.
NOVA is supported primarily by tuition fees and donations. If a family can’t afford to pay tuition, the staff makes every effort to find a way for that family to offset the costs while keeping integrity and pride intact. For example, a parent helped clean up the school’s play yard in exchange for his son to be able to attend school.
Ecuador Cares recently completed some basic projects with NOVA before the beginning of the 2016-17 school year – installing new window panes, lighting and doors, repairing a section of the roof, painting several walls, and adding 3 new computers to the existing computer lab. Future planned projects include restarting NOVA’s nutrition program to replace lost government funding; beginning an after-school tutoring program in English, math and science; starting an after-school daycare; and sponsoring individual children.
There are many volunteer opportunities available with Ecuador Cares right now, and more will be opening up as we continue to develop our relationship with NOVA and seek to support other organizations that serve disadvantaged children. Please head to the Volunteer Opportunities page to see how you can help!