It is 7 in the morning when Isabel Villacís leaves her home in Chimborazo, Ecuador on her way to La Libertad neighborhood, where much of the population lives in poverty.
Isabel, a collaborator of the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), works as a family educator in an initiative called Growing with our Guaguas, which provides information on nutrition, good health practices and psychomotor development of guaguas (the word for children in the Quechua and Aymara languages).
Conchita Cando, a mother, barely hid her excitement about “Ms. Isabel’s” visit. Her daughter, nearly two years old, has made significant strides in her development.
“Thanks to Ms. Isabel, my daughter Mayensi seems livelier; you can understand what she needs. She used to just point to objects without saying anything. Now she quickly memorizes everything you teach her,” says Conchita.
The care children receive in their first five years of life is decisive for the future skills they will develop. Children who receive protection and affection during this stage not only have more possibilities for growing healthy and strong; they also develop better speaking, communication and relationship skills.
Isabel, a psychologist, is one of 360 people who have received training in growth and development issues and the use of the family and community alert registry.
“The main role of a family educator is to raise awareness and train families through demonstrations designed to promote the replication of the activity by family members, especially parents,” says Isabel.