Although the literacy rate in Ecuador is 94%, there are still many women who can hardly read or write, especially in the poorer or more remote area of the country.
María Elvia Toaquiza Toapanta is among them. A 37-year-old single mother, María lives in two small rented rooms in Pisulí on the outskirts of Quito with her elderly mother and her son Mathew, who has an intellectual disability. She used to live in the countryside, but she was forced to move to the city to look for better job opportunities. Getting a job was not as easy as she thought and she soon found herself unemployed with two vulnerable people to care for.
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