The buildings of the San José Educational Unit in Manta have been severely affected by the earthquake that hit the provinces of Manabi, Esmeraldas and Los Ríos. After a check carried out by a group of technicians the decision was taken to demolish the building, which housed over 1,000 children, mostly from families of limited economic resources. In this context, we spoke with the Director of the Institute, Luis Chávez Rodríguez, who claims that the new San José will continue to provide a quality education for the local community, always under one of the precepts of Don Bosco: to educate with the heart .
Can you tell us about the Educational Unit?
I know that the first Salesians arrived in Rocafuerte and saw the opportunity to create an educational work in Manta. The kindergarten was built first, then the elementary school and finally the high school. In 2015 we celebrated 70 years.
Here in Manta it is estimated that we had 58 promotions, which means that there are about 20 thousand beneficiaries of the educational work. We currently have 1,750 students.
Given the decision to demolish the institution, what are the plans and in what situations was this decision made?
Specialists have determined that this school should not be repaired but demolished. We have the support of the Salesian community in Ecuador, the Province and of all the works. I trust in Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco. We will move forward.
In what way you have the support of the educational community?
The Salesian Family have come forward. We have a fairly large town community that is devastated, that is left without houses and that is our first mission: to go to them with a word of encouragement and material aid.
We have asked for mobile classrooms to give lessons to at least 90% of our students. There were positive responses so far and we will be authorized to begin work within two days.
How do you see the future of this school?
We need to use our imagination and see a school that offers security, since it comes to protecting human lives. A better school will offer quality education in modern times.