This year, she will complete 50 years of life. Thirty of them were spent educating the children of underprivileged classes. Blanca Campoverde, early orphan and adolescent mother, came from a poor family. Now she is one of the most important figures in the education sector in her country. She directs the Fundación Niñez y Vida (Childhood and Life Foundation), an organization that takes care of the education and health of children and youth.
She spent her childhood in Loja, a small city in Ecuador. At age 17, she became a mother. As a teacher, and already mother of two children, she moved to Quito, the capital. She began her work in a pioneer day care center, supported by Swiss personnel, in a poor neighborhood. Today she directs the center. She takes care of severely malnourished children, in need of affection. With the parents, she has succeeded in reducing the levels of alcoholism, drug addiction and domestic violence. “Blanca is a very special person, with a great intelligence. She is a self-taught person that people even ask in what university she has studied,” says Florence de Goumoëns, the Swiss educator, who has known Blanca for more than 20 years. When Blanca Campoverde arrived at the day care center, many years ago, she found the classrooms empty. She visited the houses in the neighborhood to convince the fathers and mothers about the need to educate their children. They were distrustful. The Swiss had blond hair and blue eyes. “Are you sure they do not want to steal the children and take them away?” they asked. But, with the presence of Blanca, a native with a kind face, they relaxed. The day care center became full: boys and girls, toys, colors, educational materials, fruit, music – until nothing else could fit. The educators, fathers and mothers built a bigger center, and then they built another one for young people. The girls and the boys know how to make bread, play music, create handicrafts, and they walk throughout the neighborhood, content, showing everyone the lettuce that they harvested after learning a difficult word: ‘hidroponía’ (hydroponics is a technique for growing plants without soil). Blanca says: “Treating children with love is the only way to guarantee that, tomorrow, we will have human beings who are capable of contributing to peace.”
Fundación Niñez y Vida–Tierra de Hombres Ecuador