We visited the non profit organisation “Fundación El Triangulo” beginning of September, when pupils return from summer break and the youngest pupils had their first day at school.
After 25 years of service for persons with intellectual disability, we were really impressed by the chemistry mix of professionalism and creativity that you can observe at the school and within its staff. One of our “wow” moment that we would not forget, hence why we wanted to sit down and write a short article about our encounter.
Origin of the Fundación
With approx. 150 pupils and 60 staff members (a ratio of approx. 2 teachers per 10 pupils), the school currently welcomes persons with intellectual disability (such as down syndrome) from 3 to 53 years’ old. We were lucky enough to meet some of its directors during our visit.
The organisation was initially founded by 3 mothers of children with intellectual disability who were looking to offer quality education to their children. They quickly realized that there was a gap to fill in Ecuador, as the education system and opportunities for professional integration for those children were really limited at the time.
The school located in the north of Quito
A huge amount of effort and commitment must have been needed to bring the Fundación to what we could see when Javier Lasso showed us the facilities on this day. 2 main buildings are welcoming the pupils: one for the youngest with plenty of educative games (incl. Outdoor’s green areas) and visuals. The other one for the older pupils and where you can find most of the activities helping children to prepare for the integration into society.
An innovative and effective integrative process for the pupils
This is also where you find most of the innovative approaches that the Fundación have developped: a “fake” apartment with all usual ustensils and appliances to help pupils to familiarize themselves with their use, practical classes (e.g. To learn how to make bread), art classes (incl. Theater, dancing, music…), etc. It is a great to integrate the pupils into society, emphasizing on what the children can do and not on what they cannot do.
Not an opportunity is missed to help pupils learn how to act outside of the school, even the canteen is used as a lesson by the teachers, who are constantly present with their pupils. Such learnings are even more important as pupils do not stay in the school overnight. Probably one of the most important aspects of the integrative process is the effort that the organisation has made into partnering with companies (e.g. Schlumberger del Ecuador, Nestlé, Sana Sana y Andes Petróleum) in order to offer jobs to the older pupils (they never really leave the foundation to ensure continuity in education). Thanks to this initiative, more than 1/3 of the pupils of age fultilling legal and technical requirements have managed to find a job helping them to gain financial autonomy.
In order to curb its deficit and be able to continue to its activities, the organisation is looking for new ways to reach public support and awareness. One of its very successfull initiative consists in the musical “Sueños”: With its first representations in 2010-11, this theater play has gained popularity thanks to its quality. More than 90 persons with disability followed artistic training in acting, singing, corporal expression and dancing in order to offer this unique experience to the spectators. With representations in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca (it was also shown abroad for e.g. In Seoul), don’t miss this show! Find out about the next representations on our website https://jamuy.sharetribe.com. The representation on November 26th in Quito can already be found here.