“I wake up early all the time, I come to school and always find my teacher there”
Since the face-to-face classes resumed, Estefany really enjoys going to school because she learns math and plays with her classmates.
Estefany Márquez is 10 years old and lives with her family in the 12 de Octubre neighborhood, located in Maracaibo, Zulia State. She studies fifth grade in a school supported by UNICEF and to get to class she has to walk around 30 minutes every day.
“I wake up early all the time, I come here, I always find the teacher. A cousin brings me or if not my mom, we come walking. It takes me half an hour to get here”, says Estefany.
the school where Estefany studies, face-to-face classes resumed in 2021. “We didn't come before because they were fixing up the school, but when I came, I was happy because there was everything, there were water tanks, there were restrooms”, she adds.
Estefany wants to be a singer when she grows up and for this reason, she studies a lot. “I like more to study here. I like math, solving number problems, and I like it more when I do sports. I like to play jumping the rope, which is very fun. I like it very much because we learn a lot here”, she expresses with enthusiasm.
For children and adolescents to stay in school, UNICEF contributes with the school feeding programme and the distribution of educational and recreational supplies. “I have always liked the school because they give us breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack when we are leaving in the end, they give us fruit. My favorite food is hamburgers. I like salad, I like it a lot”, She says.
More than 200 children assist to the same school as Estefany. The warm food plates that they receive are made by mothers of the same community, who have received all the necessary training in matters related to food manipulation, which they cook in a Wayuu fireplace “I am collaborating day by day in the kitchen, with the food for the children, because I love working for the children, this is a dream”, adds Neida Castillo, process mother, a title given to them in the programme.
UNICEF supports national and local efforts to keep schools open and safe through the delivery of school kits (colors, scissors, pencils, rulers, notebooks, blackboards), hygiene kits (antibacterial gel and soaps), and the school feeding program. It also assists teachers by supporting them with training on educational quality.
In addition to supporting the access and permanence of children and adolescents from the 12 de Octubre neighborhood to education, UNICEF contributes with integral protection services for children, including the birth registry, psychosocial support, and nutritional service attention. Thus, the school also functions as a great identifier of cases to link other contributions that guarantee the rights of boys and girls.
In Zulia state, 4,225 children and adolescents have benefited from the school feeding program supported by UNICEF and the delivery of school and recreational kits and supplies. UNICEF has also supported the construction of toilets, the delivery of filters, portable handwashing points, and the installation of tanks to guarantee access to drinking water.
During the first trimester of 2022, UNICEF has contributed to more than 76,000 children and adolescents receiving balanced school meals to meet their nutritional needs. On the other hand, it has distributed school kits to more than 24,000 children in the states of Amazonas, Anzoátegui, Apure, Bolívar, Distrito Capital, Falcón, Sucre, Táchira, and Zulia.