Success Stories

Luis

The school said he had behavior problems, but the issue was that they didn't understand the nature of his disability or how to work with his disability.

— Daniel Mueses, community activist and educator

Luis (pictured here practicing an exam) discovered his aptitude for math with the help of the DOL-funded “Espacios Para Crecer” program. Photo by Partners of the Americas.

Luis (pictured here practicing an exam) discovered his aptitude for math with the help of the DOL-funded “Espacios Para Crecer” program. Photo by Partners of the Americas.

Daniel Mueses is a community activist and educator in Cotama, Ecuador. One day, he asked his students what they wanted to be when they grew up. A young boy named Luis, who had dropped out of school in the fourth grade, stood up and said, “I would like to be a great professor. I would like to go back to school.” Luis, who has autism, had stopped attending school due to issues interacting with classmates and participating in a formal learning environment. Autism is a developmental disorder often characterized by repetitive behaviors and difficulties with social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. “The school said that he had behavior problems, but the issue was that they didn’t understand the nature of his disability or how to work with his disability,” Mueses said. All that changed when Mueses reached out to Luis’ family and suggested that Luis attend his group called “Espacios para Crecer,” or “Spaces for Growth.” Through this program, Luis discovered he had a natural aptitude for math. Mueses believes the innovative approach of “Espacios para Crecer” works because his role as the facilitator of a safe space has allowed him to act as a mentor instead of a disciplinarian.

Project
Educafuturo: Project to Combat Child Labor Among Vulnerable Populations in Ecuador and Panama by Providing Direct Education and Livelihood Services
Published Date
14 July 2022
Tags/Project Topics
Child Labor
Disabilities and health issues
Intervention Type
Livelihoods services
Education
Training
Public-private partnerships
Awareness-raising
Country
Ecuador
Region
Americas