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Empowering Don Juan, Ecuador: a beacon of change through education and training

In the picturesque village of Don Juan, nestled with care between rolling hills and serene landscapes, a transformation is underway. With a population of 1,200, this small community has faced its share of challenges, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown not only isolated the village but also exacerbated the educational disparity. However, like a beacon of hope, a local NGO called A Mano Manaba (FAMM) stepped forward, joined hands with Acronis, and embarked on a journey of empowerment and progress.

Recognizing the dire need for educational support and skill development, FAMM collaborated with Acronis to construct a vocational training center for the youth, with a particular emphasis on women’s education. This visionary endeavor aimed to provide a practical outlet for education, transcending traditional boundaries and inspiring young individuals to explore alternative livelihoods beyond the constraints of artisanal fishing.

The building was completed in the summer of 2023, made possible by the generous donations received from participants of the Acronis CyberFit Summit 2022. We sincerely thank you for your generosity!

The heart of this initiative lies in FAMM’s commitment to addressing the community’s unique needs. Their educational programs are meticulously crafted based on the demands of the village, ensuring relevance and impact. What’s more, FAMM’s connection to the community is deeply ingrained, with six out of eight board members being local residents themselves.

The new vocational center is designed to withstand seismic challenges and offers a diverse array of amenities, including a fully equipped training workshop, accommodations for dedicated volunteers, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a warehouse to house vital machinery and tools. International volunteers with specialized skills lead the training programs, immersing themselves in the village for three months. FAMM ensures their stay is comfortable and culturally enriching, offering an experience that transcends borders.

A hallmark of FAMM’s approach is the “horizontal dialogue” method employed in collaboration with the community. This methodology ensures that the training offerings are a product of collective decision-making, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment among the beneficiaries. The inaugural courses—ranging from bicycle mechanics to sewing and pattern-making—reflect the diverse needs and aspirations of Don Juan’s residents.

Looking ahead, FAMM aims to expand its reach, offering a minimum of one training course per month. With each workshop led by a dedicated team of 2 to 4 professors, the ripple effect of empowerment is set to touch the lives of at least 180 beneficiaries annually.

In the heart of Don Juan, a transformation is unfolding—one that transcends boundaries, empowers dreams, and nurtures progress. We wish prosperity and a bright future to all the students, educators and partners!

Acronis Cyber Foundation Program welcomes individuals, groups, and companies to partner with us to work side-by-side with underserved communities to bring them hope through education.

Contact us to find out more!

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