The following post was written by students at Tufts University who are part of BUILD Latin America, a student-led organization that immerses students in the theory and practice of sustainable development in Latin America.
Following a devastating 7.8 earthquake that hit the coastal region of Ecuador in April 2016, a team of students from Tufts University approached Libraries Without Borders to bring e-libraries to the communities in earthquake-affected areas. The earthquake led to more than 600 deaths and destroyed 560 schools and close to 10,000 buildings. This devastating event also left 120,000 children without the opportunity to get an education. To date, many of these children still have a place where they can learn.
Juan David Nuñez, an Ecuadorian student and member of the Tufts University group BUILD Latin America, spearheaded the initiative with Libraries Without Borders. Together, BUILD and Libraries Without Borders are collaborating to bring digital libraries to earthquake-affected areas where children lack access to schooling or educational resources.
Libraries Without Borders has developed the Koombook, a portable server that creates a wifi hotspot in areas without an internet connection. This innovative technology undergirds the digital library program, which will give children living in earthquake-ravaged communities the opportunity to access educational resources.
As members of BUILD, we have spent months researching the educational landscape in Ecuador, its various stakeholders, and communicating with international and local education organizations. In August 2016, we have traveled to Ecuador to demonstrate the Koombook and its resources (eg Wikipedia, Khan Academy videos, e-books), identify community needs, and gain the necessary to best address these needs through this e-library program. During this trip, we met with several NGOs that work in Ecuador and visited the communities where they operate. We also traveled to remote areas in the provinces of Imbabura and Pichincha, where many people live in abject poverty and lack access to educational resources. As a result, many students drop out of school or forgo university altogether.
We hope to launch the first phase of this program over the summer, provided that we get enough funding. Please make a tax-deductible donation through our Global Giving campaign. This will Significantly changing the lives of Hundreds of students in rural and earthquake-affected Communities in Ecuador, and will enable Libraries Without Borders to continue to use the Global Giving platform to Supporting programs That expand access to information, education and cultural tools Around the World . Together, we can change the lives of thousands of children.
To learn more and donate, please visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ecuadorelibrary/share/#menu