OVCI has been in Ecuador, in the Province of Esmeraldas, since 1994. In that year, at the request of the Bishop of Esmeraldas Monsignor Bartolucci, began the collaboration with the Institute of Special Education "Juan Pablo II", that annually welcomed 200 children and mostly hearing impaired children.
Esmeraldas is the region with the majority of the population of Afro origin in all of Ecuador. It is one of the poorest provinces in the Country; in addition to the problems of poverty, marginalization and underdevelopment, there is also the violence linked to the division of the territory between rival gangs, to drug trafficking with neighboring Colombia and the emerging problem of Colombian refugees crossing the border.
In such a complex situation, children with disabilities very often do not have access to rehabilitation services or even basic health and education.
In 1996, the project "Intervention to support the training of specialized teachers for the school and work integration of the disabled" began, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the aim of training teachers and educators specialized in disability. The project, completed in 2000, made possible a significant collaboration with the Catholic University of Esmeraldas.
In 2002, OVCI started a collaboration with "Nuestra Familia", a newly formed Ecuadorian association that is inspired by the values ​​of the Italian Association "La Nostra Famiglia", providing rehabilitation and educational services to disabled children in the Esmeraldas Province.
In 2004 OVCI began a project to encourage the creation of a network of institutions to respond in a coordinated way to the needs of people with disabilities residing in the Province of Esmeraldas through the Community Based Rehabilitation - now CBID approach.
The project, which ended on December 31, 2007, led to the establishment of an Interinstitutional Committee that brings together all public and non-governmental institutions working on the issue of disability.
Since 2011, CBID has been a state policy. OVCI is currently implementing the CBID strategy in all 7 Cantons of the Province of Esmeraldas: Atacames, Eloy Alfaro, Esmeraldas, Rioverde, Quinindè, San Lorenzo and Muisne. The activities in the various Cantons are becoming increasingly structured, also thanks to the close collaboration with the Local Authorities.


First orthopedic aids center in the whole Esmeraldas Province

The activity of the Orthopedic Workshop was born from an agreement signed by OVCI, the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MESI) and the local Association La Nuestra Familia.
The Orthopedic Laboratory provides a provincial level service and is engaged in the training of the two local orthopedic technicians by a Colombian orthopedic technician.
Part of the raw material used is imported from neighboring Countries because they are not available in Esmeraldas, the other products are made by the two technicians, adapting them to the needs of individuals with disabilities.
The workshop is not for profit, it follows a social cost logic (equivalent to 10% of the real cost) to ensure access to people with disabilities in economic difficulty.
Missions are usually carried out in the various cantons of the Province to provide personalized orthopedic technical assistance to people with disabilities who cannot reach the Esmeraldas Laboratory.



New project: Woman & Disability

In June 2018, OVCI in partnership with the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation as well as with the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico and with the Mangiagalli Life Association, launched a project entitled: "WOMEN & DISABILITY. Enhancement of women in the prevention and care of people with disabilities, towards autonomy ", funded by the Italian Cooperation.







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