Remember how all students in Ecuador, even at public schools, must buy 2 or 3 costly uniforms? Try figuring out where, and how to buy them at a fair price when the entire city is trying to do the same thing. I had the opportunity to accompany Paola, mom of two of our Starfish scholars – Maria and Steve, on her trip to the center of the city to try to get uniforms.
We left that day with a complete uniform for one, with the hope of buying the other the coming week. At one store, we bought pants and Paola was able to get us a $0.50 discount. Next we found a shoe store where we were able to get a discount for buying both the regular shoes and physical education shoes at the same time. Next we found socks. Later we found a lady walking around on the sidewalk selling belts for $1. We left the hardest part for the end. For the biggest and most famous high schools in the city, finding shirts was easy. However, Steve is going to a high school in Guasmo that isn’t as well known. We went to several vendors before we found one man who was willing to go look for us. After about a half an hour he finally came back with the shirt we needed and the physical education uniform specific to the high school that completed our set. With Paola’s expertise, we spent about 2.5 hours and $62 to complete Steve’s uniform for this coming school year!
Read more about uniform and school supplies demand and prices: http://www.eluniverso.com/2012/03/25/1/1445/demanda-utiles-uniformes-crece-antes-clases.html
–Jenn Zocco, The Starfish Foundation In-Country Representative