Staggered classes in Honduras
I hope all is well with you. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause major problems in Latin America though the rollout of national vaccination programmes are giving some hope for the future “new normal”, albeit slowly. Our local teachers, who have all now been vaccinated, have continued to maintain the education of our students by travelling to the communities to hand out homework and answer any questions. Online teaching is not an option due to lack of internet and devices. Some staggered classroom teaching, with all the protocols in place, has been possible in some countries though normal classroom-based teaching for all is still months away.
This week’s Little By Little bonus donation campaign gives us a brilliant opportunity to build a foundation to work from as we look ahead to the final months of 2021 and into 2022. GlobalGiving will match each donation up to $50 by 50% from Monday 13th to Friday 17th September. It would be fantastic once again to rely on your support this week with whatever you are able to donate to this page.
Thanks to your donations during this time we have been able to keep everything going on a shoestring budget, including buying all the necessary biosecure products to maintain safety, though there has been so much we have wanted to do which has had to be put on hold. Restrictions due to Covid-19 have forced the cancellation of usual fundraising events including our charity challenges over the past nineteen months and the economic outlook remains uncertain.
Whilst the main priority is obviously keeping our current local teachers and the education of the children, once more funding becomes available we want to increase the number of local teachers, undertake maintenance, restock the classrooms and invest in more family sustainable income plans for the future which is even more critical during these times. The sustainable plans will provide extra income for the families to buy essential food and medicines as well as helping to fund the schools in the future.
We will also be planting a tree for every $10 raised during this week to help reduce the carbon footprint of the day-to-day activities of the projects. These include boat travel for the students in Guatemala, pickup transport for the students in Honduras and teachers’ transport up into the mountains in Ecuador and desert in Perú.
Our fifty secondary school and college scholarship students in Guatemala are coming up to their final exams which has been a tremendous effort by them bearing in mind they have had to travel into the main school each week from the six communities where they all live around Lake Atitlán to receive worksheets and drop off homework for marking for the whole year. Those students who are graduating will celebrate by planting trees in the surrounding hills. We are hoping to add more scholarship students for both secondary school and college in 2022.
The sewing project continues to be a great success for the single mothers and parents of the scholarship students as well as some of the elderly population eager to learn new skills. The extra income they have been able to earn through the project has been crucial during these times. Like the scholarships, we plan to increase the number of sewing machines in 2022.
Classes continue to be held on a staggered basis in Honduras with different grades each day with the students continuing to walk up to two hours from their communities to come to school, albeit once a week for now. We continue to transport those who live furthest away by pickup in the evenings.
The centralized Plan Huerto vegetable garden has been successful as part of the college course in agricultural techniques. They are now learning about and planting sweet-corn which yields in three months and can be sold to restaurants in urban areas and export. Having a large centralized Plan Huerto also will provide income to cover some school costs over time and the students can learn how to manage their own plan huertos in the future to help with extra income within the families for medicines and extra supplies.
The new school year got underway this month in Ecuador with staggered meetings with the parents explaining the protocol for the next few months. Different classes will be held on alternate days to reduce the number of students in the school on any given day. We purchased new supplies of hygiene and biosecure products to make sure the classrooms are as safe as possible.
Thanks to your donations we have been able to retain all our seven local Phoenix teachers, including three who we help with their University costs, so all classes now have a teacher.
Work and investment has continued with implementing sustainable income plans, including our Plan Chancho, Plan Pollo, Plan Cuy and Plan Huerto which aim to generate regular income specifically for the elderly population so they can buy medicines and extra supplies. Over the next year we plan to increase the herd in Plan Moo as well.
With Perú still suffering from high rates of Covid-19 the classrooms still remain closed. There have been whispers that staggered teaching may start this month though nothing concrete has been confirmed.
For the whole year our students have been learning from home using the textbooks we purchased at the start of the year. The teachers make regular visits to the community to set homework and correct worksheets. As the parents generally have little or no education themselves they cannot help with home-schooling so the regular visits by the teachers is essential.
Once the “new normal” starts we can concentrate on implementing sustainable family income plans which are now more critical than ever. These may include agriculture in the limited irrigated chakras (fields) in the desert, alpacas for wool and sewing projects.
Many thanks for anything you can donate this week to the Little By Little Campaign. It is such a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to get back on track after these past eighteen months and build a solid platform for the years ahead.
Also, if you are thinking of doing something different in 2022 please do follow the link in this report to our Charity Challenges in Perú and Ecuador in May and June taking in the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in Perú and volcanos in Ecuador – you can do either or both!
Have a great month and thank you all once again.
Scholarships in different communities in Guatemala
New school year starts in Ecuador
Learning from home in Peru
Plan Huerto in Honduras
Classes in Ecuador