Book Bus Alfie: A shining star in Ecuador earthquake aftermath

Book Bus Alfie

“Book Bus Alfie has been the star for us. Everywhere we went, Alfie brought books for the kids.”

Back in April, a huge earthquake rocked coastal Ecuador, impacting many small communities including Puerto Lopez where our Book Bus programme is based. According to UNICEF, over 150,000 children have been affected.

In the wake of the earthquake’s devastating damage, the Book Bus and its volunteers have been working tirelessly to bring emotional and physical support to affected children and their families.

“After the earthquake, there were many people living unsafely in their destroyed houses,” says Arturo Rodriguez, Book Bus Project Manager in Puerto Lopez. “Now they are becoming homeless due to local municipalities needing them to move. The number of people living in refugee camps is increasing daily, but some families don’t want to move to the camps, so they stay outside, in the street…”

Homelessness is only one of many issues arising from the earthquake’s damage. Puerto Lopez and surrounding areas are also experiencing educational, economic and emotional instability following the quake. So how is the Book Bus helping?

“Book Bus Alfie has been the star for us,” Arturo goes on. “Everywhere we went, Alfie brought books for the kids, as well as help, people, balloons and everything that’s needed to try to get things back to normal. The objective is to give kids and their families emotional support.”

The Book Bus is also working closely with partner organisations, such as Fundacion Ecuador Tierra Viva, who are running a project in Las Lagunas—a small nearby community—bringing donations and small temporary houses to families whose homes were destroyed. The Puerto Lopez Book Bus team have also helped to distribute hundreds of copies of “Trinka yJuan: el día que se movió la tierra (Trinka y Juan: the day that the earthmoved”) – a book and social initiative started after the earthquakes in Chile and Nepal, intended to help families and children deal with the emotional stress following an earthquake.

But there’s still more to be done. “We have a project to rebuild small schools around the province,” Arturo explains. “We also need to continue our project in the most affected zone. This work requires funds for gas, mechanical equipment for Alfie, materials for the kids and other expenses.”

Arturo and the other generous Book Bus and partner volunteers have seen first-hand the difference the project and donations can make in the wake of a disaster.

“Not much would have been possible without Alfie and the Book Bus programme,” Arturo continues. “Once the situation is controlled from the damage, it’s time to work towards getting back to normal.”

You can help Arturo, Alfie and the Book Bus team in Puerto Lopez make that happen. Donate today.