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(ANS – Quito) – On 20-21 June in the Auditorium dedicated to Archbishop Candido Rada at the Campus-El Girón of the Salesian Polytechnical University there was Forum entitled: “Childhood and adolescence at risk in the socio-political situation of Ecuador”. Among those present at the opening ceremony were the Provincial of Ecuador, Fr Marcelo Farfán, Fr Francisco Sánchez, National Coordinator of the Salesian Plan for Ecuador, and Fr Javier Herrán, Rector of the University.
In their speeches they pointed out that the Salesian Project “Niños de la Calle” is one of the key elements in the preferential option of the Salesian Province of Ecuador aimed at improving the quality of life of street children and youngsters. It was also explained that the purpose of the Forum was in the first place was to examine and discuss public policies and their impact on projects in progress.
On Wednesday 20 June the sociologist René Unda, discussed how to “involve public-state activities in the work for children and young people at risk,” while Dr. Fernando Vásquez and Dr. Fernando Suárez considered the question of Councils for Childhood and adolescence, their impact, the challenges and the current constitutional reforms.
On Thursday Dr. Alexander Cusianovich – taking part by video-conference – Mr. Vladimir Chicaiza, a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and Dr Luis Herrera, from the Salesian Polytechnical University, dealt with the problem of child labour. They pointed out that the question needed to be examined from a number of different perspectives, since, while it was a global problem, “child labour in the native tribes,”– Dr Cusianovich explained– “cannot be viewed in the same way as the work of small boys and girls and adolescents in the large cities.” This phenomenon “cannot be measured by surveys, since it is also necessary to be in possession of the relevant background facts to understand this social phenomenon.”
Then Dr. Henry Betancout, from the Ministry for Economic and Social Inclusion – the Institute for Childhood and the Family spoke about the progress of the new models of Special Care and Protection, while Dr Gentiana Susaj (from the “Fundación Esperanza”) described the terrible situation of the trafficking of human beings especially of children and adolescents at risk.
Other issues considered at the Forum were violence within the family, the disabled and human rights, teenage mothers and education.
Over 200 people attended the Forum including students from the Salesian University, officers from the Ministry for Economic and Social Inclusion and from the Quito Metropolitan Local Authority, members of NGO working with children and adolescents at risk and teachers from the seven cities in which the Salesian Plan for Ecuador is in operation.