Project Esperanza

Project Esperanza is a non-profit organization that began as and remains a Virginia Tech student organization. Project Esperanza serves to connect the Blacksburg, Virginia community and the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic community through service. Our programs are designed to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty present among the lower social classes in these two communities, as well toward breaking the cycle of apathy present among the upper classes.
Nov 11, 2014

2014-2015 Scholarships

Jon and Kerenchy
Jon and Kerenchy

We are proud to be sending more students than ever to school on Change My Stars scholarships!

First, let me just say that summer camp this summer was better than ever! We reached more kids, engaged more volunteers and local teachers, and even took a trip to the zoo in Santo Domingo after week 5 where the theme was animals. It is already apparent that next year we will have to split into two camps - one in Padre Granero where we have had it the past two years, and one in Munoz. This summer we bussed dozens of kids from Munoz to the camp in Padre Granero, and 13 kids from Los Dominguez. Check out vidoes (made by volunteer coordinator Joanne Ng) here.

Alright, for the past few years we have had 3 kids on scholarship. This year that was upped quite a lot. Here are the 2014-2015 scholarship recipients:

Eriverto in 7th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Piterly in 8th grade at the Centro de Educativo Padre Granero, hopefully soon to be moved to Perpetuo Socorro.

Miguelina in 9th grade at Santa Rosa de Lima.

Freddy studying Modern Languages at the University of OyM.

Aniverca at Escuela de Educacion Especial.

Kerenchy in 7th grade at Colegio Mundo Feliz.

Engly (Jon) in 5th grade at Colegio Mundo Feliz.

Wadner in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Naomi in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Chinaider in 9th grade at Perpetuo Socorro.

Milena in 5th grade at Sueno de los Ninos.

Wow! That was a lot of back to school shopping! :)

We hope to run a winter Change My Stars camp but are short on volunteers at this point. If you are interested in volunteering with us in early January, check out this link.

Thank you always for your support!

2014 camp
2014 camp
Wadner & Naomi
Wadner & Naomi

Links:

Nov 11, 2014

Communication Breakdown

Well, the charger for the camera was apparently lost and this has kept Hellen from being able to use it. She did not lose it but was never able to receive it, unfortunately. I honestly cannot report on whether she has been able to or should have been able to purchase a new one because she has been very out of touch lately.

The last we spoke more consistently was via e-mail in July. She had let me know that she was having legal problems with the teachers holding her accountable for pay. She was not able to pay them regularly since the school did not receive enough money through donations and from parents to pay them regularly, but they were not very understanding about that apparently. Funds were sent in July and she confirmed their receipt but then has been very out of touch.

I have been so busy too so it took me months before I called her. When I called her she said what I had assumed and hoped was not the case. She has been in and out of the hospital. This seems to have been the case ever since she got in a car accident maybe two years ago. It seems that her health has been consistently poor since then. I asked her to please put me in touch with someone else working with the school and she said she would but I have not heard from her. Due to many obligations, I can't dedicate much time to this until mid December. But after that time, I will be much more diligent about calling her, finding another contact at the school who can communicate in her absence, and also reaching out to more groups in Kampala.

So I'm sorry I do not have more details.

Thank you always for supporting the school and the children!

Links:

Nov 11, 2014

New Partnerships

Breakfast program
Breakfast program

We have some very exciting new partnerships budding! One is not as new as the other.

The first is The Center for Research and Education run by Martine Michel-toure in New York City. She has sent food items to help with school meals. We are finally able to provide a daily breakfast to our little ones!

The other new partnership is with Sewing My Future, run by Julie Baker in New Hampshire. Julie has already worked with seamstresses in the Munoz community and is partnering with us with our fair trade art shop and school, which both are in the same building. She came in October and set up one of our artists with an embroidering job, sewing and embroidering baby booties. The plan is to employ this woman to teach girls and women in the community to sew, and those who are able to reach a certain level will be able to find employment through the art shop and Sewing My Future, as Julie has a growing clientele base and lots of experience.

I mentioned in the last update that we now have less students due to the public school opening full day and providing meals to students. So we are heading in the direction of providing more vocational training and this is a start!

The cacao project is still in the works. A donation of $60 can provide a family with a cacao tree in a new community garden/sustainability center we are working to set up in a spot centered between two of the bateyes. After 4 years, this tree should be able to provide between $80 and $140 US for the family each year through the sale of seeds!

Thank you always for your support!

Judith
Judith's class

Links:

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