The last few months have seen some great developments in Mal Pais, so we thank you once again for all of your generous donations, you can clearly see the difference that they make.
Back in August, the Art students of Mal Pais Public School had the opportunity to show their work in a real Art Gallery which really was fantastic and very exciting for the students. Tom and Christine of the Art and Soul/Synergy Studio organised a fundraiser for the local schools. They provided art supplies to the schools and the children created their masterpieces which were auctioned off and all proceeds were exchanged for more art supplies and divided between the local schools. The event brought the community together to celebrate the young artists and creativity in general, with good food, drinks and live music. It was such a success that the gallery has promised to make it an annual event.
Unfortunately September gave Costa Rica an earthquake of magnitude 7.6, causing structural damage to the main school house in Mal Pais and gave everyone a fright. Luckily all students and teachers were unharmed, and classes resumed a few days later, however repairs will take a lot longer!
Moving onto October, we sponsored more children for the 2013 enrolment of our pre-school program which has been expanding to meet the demands of the community and has been showing promising results in English and Spanish. Actually, the director of the local school has thanked us for making the transition to 1st grade so easy for his new students coming from the program, which is brilliant to hear.
With the rains almost behind us and the year drawing to an end, we look forward to celebrating in December with our pre-school graduates with sunshine and our second graduation party. The bilingual education project is now a complete reality and hopes to continue the good work for many more years to come.
We thank you again for helping us to make all of this possible, every single donation makes a huge difference to helping us continue our work in Mal Pais.
We are pleased to be able to share with you a recent donation report that we have received from the field, showing the extent of the difference that your donations are making - we can't thank you enough!
The ESL and Art teacher have had a huge impact on the school and the community and we will continue this program in 2013. The students have made remarkable progress not just in the English language or artistically, but also socially and emotionally. The adult evening classes are popular and the community are grateful for the opportunity to learn English, which has helped many to access the bustling tourism trade - increasing their family income and creating a higher living standard.
The school supplies and Art supplies have also been invaluable - many children had never held a paintbrush or used paint, many students were without a pencil, let alone a pencil-case - now they have the proper equipment to learn and express themselves.
Finally the infrastructural repair - this has had the most impact, the school was in a very bad state when we started the project. All roofs leaked, causing huge pools of water in the classrooms and wetting the children, the leaks also caused electrical problems with a fan sparking and a computer being blown up. The classrooms were hot and uncomfortable - we installed blinds and fans, painted the interior and built shelving units, fixed electrical and plumbing issues. The school kitchen had rats eating dry food products as there were no cupboards or shelves, the gas tank was housed in the kitchen which was very unsafe and the floor was broken cement which was a breeding ground for bacteria. We now have a very happy school cook and a hygienic kitchen for her to work in, as well as new cafeteria tables for the children to eat at. The landscaping is ongoing, branch control of hazardous trees - that have fallen on the school roof in the past as well as the grounds, also keeping the grass at a safe height as the area is popular for coral snakes.
With the school flag now flying proudly and the school freshly painted and repaired, the staff, students and community are very proud of their beautiful school in Mal Pais and the community is very grateful for all the donations and support. With ESL, Art and the new bilingual Pre-school program already up and running we can now really start making an impact in the locals life's - allowing mother's to go work and their children being offered a quality learning program that will stand them in good stead for the future.
We've now reached mid-term, the start of the rainy season. The past few months have welcomed a new Art teacher called Berenice to the Mal Pais School, who has lots of exciting ideas for the rest of the year including involving the students in an exterior mural on the main school building. Sara has started a dance class at the school to prepare for the annual Art Fair and her evening classes and daily classes are not only popular but we're seeing great results.
After the big renovation at Mal Pais School last year, the flag is now flying proudly at the school gate. Luckily this school has motivated staff, students and community members to keep it looking its best.
A vegetable garden designed by staff and students is already underway providing another extracurricular activity for the students to enjoy! We’re still looking for a Physical Education and Music teacher volunteer...but we're certainly moving in the right direction.
The project also recently donated funds to Santa Teresa School to help with the purchase of a school playground and many local donors have helped with these new renovations at the school. A big clean up was necessary at both schools - with the rain comes the fear of Dengue and a simple clean up can save lives!
The project would also like to help a new bilingual non-profit school in Cobano with their future goals of having 1/3 of the students on full scholarships and organizing additional programs with the Public Schools with shared resources and volunteers.
The Mal Pais Kinder program has been well received and we already have many new sponsor children waiting to start in 2013. The goal is to continue sponsoring several of these children after they finish our kinder program, by securing and financing scholarships at the bilingual school in Cobano.
In mid-February of this year the Public Schools re-opened their doors and both Mal Pais and St Teresa School welcomed many new excited students. St Teresa's has been busy in the holidays with lots of changes to the school grounds, a new classroom has been built and the project will support the school to have it painted. In the Mal Pais School, Sara, our ESL teacher has kindly volunteered to teach for 2012 and we now have another volunteer called Heather, whose skills are fabulous with the younger students. Sara's adult ESL evening classes were so popular last year that she now runs them twice a week. We are currently looking for a new volunteer for the Art program at the Mal Pais School, classes were very popular in 2011 and another volunteer would be a great help. A new kinder program was set up this year in Mal Pais; the project has been able to award scholarship to 11 students and hopes to continue through 2013. We are still hoping to build a new classroom in Mal Pais and start a small library.
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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GVI Charitable Trust Manager