Focus 2022

Ecuador - ECU28-06-2022

Salesian Polytechnic University of Quito assists indigenous communities

Last Monday, June 20, the "El Girón" campus of the Salesian Polytechnic University (UPS) in Quito was transformed into a zone of peace and humanitarian aid for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian highlands and east, who have moved to the capital due to the national strike, giving priority to women, children and the elderly.

"In the spirit of our commitment to the social sectors, we reiterate that UPS, in its humanistic and Christian-inspired character, is at the service of the common good, seeking to make dialogue prevail as the main mechanism for resolving conflicts, in order to avoid actions that exacerbate violence and repression," reads the statement by Fr. Juan Cárdenas, University Rector.

Since that day, 200 volunteers, including faculty, students and administrative staff, have organized themselves into relief groups that have worked day and night. A medical aid station was set up in the campus cafeteria, with the collaboration of the Ecuadorian Red Cross, UTE University, the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, the "Universidad Central del Ecuador," the "Medial CAZBA" Foundation and UPS personnel. 

Kitchens and tables for food distribution were set up nearby; the University Pastoral area was transformed into a welcoming space for children and adolescents thanks to the teachers of the Psychology and Early Childhood Education courses and thanks to some student volunteers. The classrooms have been adapted to receive the donations that arrive in large numbers every day, and the Student Federation "FEUPS" is in charge of organizing them.

More than 700 emergencies have been addressed these days, about 5,000 people a day have been fed, and an average of 50 children have been helped.

Fr. Cárdenas recalls that: "the University opened its campus to provide health care, food and shelter to the most vulnerable groups in Quito's communities. The Academy is a space for the construction of knowledge, but also for the search for peace."

"As social actors, we have expressed our concern about this crisis in different media and platforms, and we seek dialogue as the best way to reach agreements for the common good," said Fr. Cárdenas.