Recently, we were lucky enough to have 7 members of the GVI team in Perú who took to conquer the Atacama Desert. We trekked 35 kilometers in two days along a beautiful Peruvian coast, raising money for the GVI Charitable Trust. The money raised through this challenge will continue providing the children of Perú with daily fruit and lunch. Although the challenge was tough, as we walked through the driest place on earth, in temperatures of 40+, we were amazed at the beautiful scenery that engulfed us. Surrounded by mountains on one side with a seemingly never-ending ocean on the other, we felt we must have been the first people to have ever stepped foot on that land.
This is going to help our aim of providing long-term, sustainable help by improving basic education and access to water in small communities, "los pueblos jovenes", around the city of Arequipa, Peru.
This year saw the introduction of 'Plan Immersion', whereby we introduced the secondary school children who have received scholarships and materials, to different types of work they can achieve in Arequipa. At this point in time life in the Pueblos Jovenes is their future. These types of jobs included: administration work, mechanical work, engineer work, managerial work, sales and marketing work.
By paying for transport and organising trips, we can open the children’s eyes to a brighter, more achievable future, thanks to donations. Over the next five years, we anticipate 200 more children entering secondary school and further education, thanks so continued donations.
Throughout the majority of schools in South America, fostering creativity in students is either not present in, or not a priority of the curriculum. If you walk into a normal classroom, you will see students doing a lot of copying off of the blackboard. When these same students are asked to write a story about a cat named Jinx, they stare at you blankly, because they have not been trained to work the right side of their brains. We have been working in local schools in Peru for the last 6 years, sending volunteers into the classrooms to support the local teachers.
In order to get out of the cycle of abject poverty in these towns, the team in Peru believes that the children need to be trained to think independently. As Walter Lippman once said, “When all think alike, then no one is thinking!” With this in mind, the staff and volunteers at GVI Phoenix Peru took it upon themselves to start introducing the concepts of creativity and imagination to the classroom. This has been a multi-pronged venture. First, they redesigned the gym and art curriculum for all six grades of primary school. In this new curriculum, the children now have weeks of theatre lessons, weeks of dance lessons, and more challenging art projects. Next, the team in Peru took it upon themselves to change the environment that the children are working in to make it more conducive to new ideas and sparks of imagination. In March, the volunteers finished painting the entire Inicial (elementary) classroom with fanciful birds, unicorns, lizards, and other mythical creatures, and the kids can’t get enough. The team also started reading time with the children, and will read one page of a story book, and then have the children create the ending for the story. It’s a fantastic exercise for them to learn how to think independently.
The local teachers in Arequipa are overwhelmed with high numbers of students and extremely low resources. Being able to support them in this way has been an incredible experience for. The teachers themselves have now started incorporating some of these imaginative techniques into their daily teaching, which is fantastic news, because it means this program is gaining a level of sustainability, which is the ultimate goal.
Later on this March, a group of challengers will be taking part in a two-day charity challenge to raise funds for our projects, which are situated on the outskirts of Arequipa, Peru.
Unusually heavy rains devastated many families in the area, which are home to many of the children where we work, providing free education. Under normal circumstances these families would not be able to afford this education for their children.
The aim of this challenge is to enable us to put funds together to assist families whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed at the beginning of the year.
We would like to share the most recent trustee report from the GVI Charitable Trust. This report covers the six month period from July to December 2011.
We are delighted to share that this has been by far our most successful period, raising in six months nearly as much as we did the whole of the previous year. This increase in funding has brought a corresponding increase in the impact we have been able to create on our programs around the world.
During this period we have invested in sustainable education across Latin America including support for the elderly in Guatemala and income generation schemes to support education in Honduras and Ecuador. In Mexico we have worked with a community to establish a recycling centre and in Kenya our partners in Mombasa will now realise their goal of seeing impoverished students through to completion of the primary education earning recognised qualifications for the first time.
These are just a few highlights of an amazing, productive and rewarding six months. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and played a crucial role in these achievements.
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