Interview with Msc. Alexi Aurora Celia Quiñonez, Principal of the Unidad Educativa Juan Carlos Matheus, Viche
The Unidad Educativa Juan Carlos Matheus was reopened in 2013 and can host over one thousand students. It is located in Viche, Quininde canton, Esmeraldas province.
This project was coordinated by the Apostolic Vicariate of Esmeraldas and had the backing of the Japan Embassy, the Decentralized Autonomous Government of Quininde and Viche, and OCP Ecuador.
What is the social situation like in Viche?
Viche is a parish with divided family units; parents are forced to leave their children due to work obligations or family breakups. We not only focus on the academic side of things, but also on emotional and psychological aspects, which are essential. We have to deal with children whose relatives deal drugs.
What does it mean to the parish to have an educational center like this?
Education enables people to eradicate any trace of poverty, and allows our youth and children to advance as it opens doors for them. This enables them to break free from the clutches of drugs and crime. It is, therefore, critical that children receive intellectual support, so that they are able, later on in life, to find decent work and survive with their families.
How has having better infrastructure helped?
My work in the urban, marginal and rural areas has led me to believe that we have a wonderful infrastructure, which is fundamental in terms of the pedagogy.
The environment in which children are taught must be good, especially nowadays that we have technology at our disposal. We have received from OCP help in the form of computers. The infrastructure of our classrooms creates an atmosphere that allows children to be taught in a quiet and decent environment, which is what they deserve.
The other private entities should follow this example of generosity and support. For our people to move forward, on every level, we must move forward in education, which is a fundamental pillar.
This social aid we have received from OCP for these at-risk boys and girls, and whose parents may not be in a financial position to send them to a private school, allows them to enjoy comparably good public schooling.
“There are currently 1137 students enrolled in this high school,” explains Freddy Zambrano Vice Principal of the Juan Carlos Matheus high school
“The decision on the part of OCP, by means of an agreement with the Japan Embassy, to improve the conditions of the infrastructure of the old school, was the right one as the school was in a very sorry state. The classrooms flooded with water and mud during winter. What we have now is infinitely better than before.”
“We are very pleased with OCP’s enormous contribution. As a result of the conditions of extreme poverty and obstacles in terms of mobilization, the children were in danger. We currently have 1137 students; our numbers have steadily increased since this high school was built in 2012.”