I hope all is well with you. As 2022, our 20th Anniversary, draws to a close it is worth reflecting on what has been a year of rebuilding after the pandemic with full classrooms and sharing with you our plans for 2023 and the years ahead.
Access to full-time education from primary school to university will always be our number one priority though we are also aware that in times of hardship, employment opportunities are scarce even with an education. The pandemic, the effects of climate change which for years have been plain to see where we work and the current cost of living crisis are prime examples of these additional real-life obstacles facing our communities who already live with extreme difficulties.
The implementation of sustainable family and community income plans is key to ensuring independent economic stability no matter how the macro environment is faring and, after education, will be a priority for our work over the coming years.
We have learned so much over the past twenty years in Latin America, the highs and the lows and we plan to use this extensive knowledge we have garnered to benefit not only the communities where we currently work though also to implement new projects in other communities. The goal is the same wherever: sustainable full education and economic security.
Classes finally got back underway in Perú with an increased number of students after more than two years out due to the pandemic with plenty to be done for the children’s education. Thanks to the visit of the students from Impington Village College, UK, our first sustainable plan was introduced in the desert; a fully irrigated vegetable garden for the children’s school meals. A new classroom was also built as well as painting and one-on-one teaching to help bring the children up to speed.
With restrictions being lifted due to the pandemic we were able to celebrate Mother’s Day as well as other cultural celebrations. Sadly due to political unrest we had to postpone the already postponed end-of-year trip for the students until 2023! The likewise postponed Inca Trail Charity Challenge finally went ahead and was a great success.
Our plans for 2023 include welcoming an increased number of students now that we have four classrooms as well as expanding Plan Huerto to increase the school meals and help the local families. We also plan to identify new communities to work in over the coming years.Thank you so much to you all for helping us get this far and we hope you will continue to support our work for years to come as we face the known and unknown issues facing Latin American communities now and in the future.
This year was a very successful year in Guatemala as many of our scholarship students graduated from secondary school and college with some budding business administrators now seeking employment!
For them to even get this far is a success story with many suffering serious underlying health issues. Our students are spread over seven communities around the lake though they grasp the opportunity to learn, thanks to the scholarships, with both hands, making the long journeys to school each day to learn and give themselves a better opportunity.
Broken from the shackles of the pandemic and its restrictions on movement, the students were busy during the year taking on community projects including planting hundreds of trees and rubbish collecting.
Looking forward to 2023 we plan to add more students to the scholarship programme taking the number well over one hundred whilst also expanding Plan Costura, our sewing business for single mothers. As all proceeds are shared between the mothers, they are able to provide for their children, especially with materials and extra costs for primary school. With this, we are helping to provide education from start to finish. We will also continue our tree-planting scheme as part of our overall Phoenix action to combat climate change.
Full classes were held throughout the year for children from four rural Andean communities in Ecuador and we were able to celebrate full cultural celebrations for the first tie since the pandemic including Pawkar Raymi (asking Pachamama – Mother Earth – for a good harvest), Fanesca over Easter, Mother’s Day, graduate trips in July, colada morada for Day of the Dead and of course, Christmas!
We were also able to restart the implementation of Plan Moo whereby we buy milking cows which are looked after by local families and the income generated by milk and future calves’ milk is shared between them and the school’s costs. Plan Moo has been an essential part of our secondary school and college programme since 2008 and bringing more students into the scheme is paramount for the future of the communities.
We will continue with our six local teachers in 2023 in the central school for the four communities. We plan to increase the Plan Moo herd to help sustainably cover their salaries in the future. We also plan to implement Plan Cuy and Plan Huerto in the communities to ensure further income for the families and the school.
The process of identifying new communities to work with in the coming years is also underway whereby extra teachers in the local schools will be paid for from the income of sustainable community income plans, ensuring their future from the start.
The community in Honduras is now fully in charge of the secondary school and college with income generated on the ground to cover costs which has always been our philosophy – that the community take charge eventually. We will continue to support the college when and where we can during 2023, especially with sustainable plans.
Have a fantastic 2023 and thank you all once again.
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