Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Peace Education through Story-Telling

Project #
IH - New York
  • Maria Jose Bermeo

Ecuador has one of the lowest per capita incomes in Latin America, and while poverty levels are highest in rural areas, widespread urban poverty has created a population of street children in Quito that is estimated to be over 650,000. This project was aimed at these children who, without access to education and as a result of discrimination, have few opportunities to break the cycle of poverty and violence that surrounds them.

The project team included storytellers, social workers, educators, and volunteers who met weekly for three months in San Francisco Plaza in the center of colonial Quito. There, they worked each week for two hours with approximately 30 children, some who lived on the streets and worked shining shoes or selling candies, some who came with parents who worked on the plaza, and others just passing by. The team used an approach that combined storytelling, games, and dialogue aimed at literacy development and peace education. They developed a mobile lending library and established a support system for the children, identifying specific needs and making appropriate referrals to other sources. Key chains were designed and distributed to the children, listing various resources available to them in the city.

Through a partnership with a local organization and the realization of additional funding, this project will continue for at least one year. During this year, hundreds of children will come to hear and tell stories, and hundreds of lives will be transformed.