Rehabilitating Public Spaces in Ecuador
“It´s pretty cool to see my face painted on the walls of my community, people ask me if it´s my picture and tell me it looks really nice.” – said Pedrito, the boy depicted on one of the community murals in Huaquillas.
As part of the project “My Community, My Contribution”, the Red Cross, along with a number of partners and the community itself, cleaned up the space, installed exercise machines and proper lighting in different neighborhoods of Huaquillas Ecuador.
Choferes Sportman, for instance, now has a safe and welcoming public space, where the community gets together, kids play, and meetings and activities take place. In the past, the area was dark, littered and insecure.
Together with Cronopios – an association of young artists – the Red Cross and its volunteers recently painted murals depicting day-to-day activities of the community. One of the murals is a portrait of Pedrito, a 7-year-old boy from Choferes Sportman.
“I am really happy to see one of our children´s faces in a mural. For me, it represents the innocence of the children in our community and in Huaquillas.” – said Roció Ortiz, a member of the community.
Located in the municipality of Huaquillas in Ecuador, Choferes Sportman is a small community of about 300 people. It is prone to flooding, fires and faces a number of security issues. RITA (Resilience in the Americas), a Red Cross program, works together with the community to help them become more resilient.
A large part of this is promoting community organization and cohesion. Members of the community participated actively in rehabilitating the public space, which gives them a sense of belonging, ownership and pride. Solving their problems together, neighbors discover their ability to make a change on their own. These are critical skills to have when unexpected events, such as flooding, occur.
In the future, the community plans to use the space to expand their range of economic activities, hold regular meetings and fundraising events, as well as continue using it for recreation.