According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), “many children that finish second grade in the rural areas do not know how to read or write,” due to:
- Distance to schools: the lack of schools in rural areas often forces children to migrate to schools far away from their homes, enduring long and dangerous walks.
- Number of classroom hours: many teachers teach only Tuesday through Thursday to go home to the city on weekends.
- Single teachers: a single teacher is one who has students in different grades in a single classroom and who must implement an educative process for all of them at the same time.
- Language: many rural children speak a language other than Spanish as their first language.
Poor infrastructure in rural communities often means that school rooms are small or non-existent, lack resources for teachers, and are not properly built to shelter children from the elements. MEDLIFE works in rural communities and with the Ministry of Education in Ecuador to identify locations where additional school rooms are needed. With an additional classroom, staffed by the Ministry of Education, communities can better accommodate all school children. Students can also be split up by grade level, bettering the quality of education. Structurally sound buildings give students a secure place to learn, and proper bathroom facilities ensure that students practice better hygiene and miss less class time.
In addition, MEDLIFE provides preventative health education through educational stations that run alongside our Mobile Clinics, as well as stand alone educational workshops carried out in individual communities.