Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel

by Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.
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Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 2000 Honduran Children to Excel
StS and US Embassy in Honduras working together
StS and US Embassy in Honduras working together

The United States Embassy in Honduras and Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc., work with the Honduran Ministry of Education to bring digital learning to rural Honduras

The U.S. Embassy Honduras, Public Affairs Section provided $110,000 in funding to Shoulder to Shoulder, for the development and distribution of digital curriculum via the Kolibri platform to more than 1250 children.  This work supports the official Honduran textbooks and is being closely coordinated with the Honduran Ministry of Education who is assisting in the implementation.

This effort enhances educational opportunities of vulnerable youth in areas with low Internet connectivity.   This project brings digital textbooks, video lessons, and a library of digital library books right into student homes via the Kolibri Learning Platform.  With this, they can continue to learn during times when schools are closed due to COVID-19.  The U.S. Embassy has provided funding for the transcription of Honduran textbooks onto inexpensive Android tablets and their deployment to students in 30 public schools in Southern Honduras.  

Kolibri is developed and maintained by Learning Equality.  It delivers a growing library of open educational resources designed for offline teaching and learning via open source software.  The software and content are entirely free.   It is centered around a learning platform with built-in educator support that can run on a local server device, e.g. laptop.  It is complemented by tools to organize these resources and others to the local curriculum.  In Honduras, Shoulder to Shoulder has implemented the complete set of textbooks needed for K-12 education plus a digital library of over 1000 books organized by grade level.      

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Second grader, Elvin
Second grader, Elvin

Little by little we are seeing the results of the seeds we are planting in our reading program.

Meet Elvin --  a student at our bilingual school.

Two years ago, I was the teacher's assistant in the preschool classroom.  There I met Elvin -- who had such a desire to learn. In every conversation we had I was impressed because of the vocabulary words he was using. And if the conversation contained a word that was new to him, he would always ask for its meaning. I saw his enthusiasm for books, but he always said, ‘’I am a Mathematics guy, teacher’’. He had developed many skills in all subjects he was taking at that time, but for sure he had more inclination towards Math.

In February 2021, at the beginning of the 2021 school year, I saw Elvin (now a brand new 2nd grader) standing in front of the garden, looking at the flowers. I greeted him and with enthusiasm he answered back:  ‘’I now know how to read Miss."  With that, we went up to the school library together. With excitement, I observed him as he looked for a book and then he read it to me.  He looked for a second one and once again, he read it to me. I was amazed! For a second grader it was a lot, I thought; especially because they did not spend enough time at school last year due to the pandemic. And that is when I understood the role that a responsible parent can play in the education of their children.

His mother helps him on his reading projects at home, and every time he reads she is with him. They have worked on how words with accent marks are pronounced in the Spanish language, and he also does intonation for sentences that require it. Although his mother does not speak English she always listens to him when he reads.  When he was done with reading, that day in the library, he asked if he could take a book home. I said, “Sure,” and so he did. In about a week he brought it back, and since then he has been taking books home.

Seeing kids coming to school is always going to be an exciting thing for me; but seeing kids coming to the library and asking for books is powerful; so, this is a moment I will forever keep in my heart!

Elvin reading in StS school library
Elvin reading in StS school library
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Katherine, Dania, and Eva
Katherine, Dania, and Eva

Hello, we are Katherine, Dania and Eva. We graduated from The Leadership Center as bilingual in Leadership and Community Development. In our time there we learned that community development is about people, not projects. By thinking in a different way, we know we can help in our communities.

When we learned about Shoulder to Shoulder’s mission and vision, we believed that by doing our internship with the organization we would receive new experiences and develop our knowledge on how to be a teacher and work with children.

Throughout the pandemic, the experience of teaching has been difficult and we have faced some challenges. Still, we consider and see that our classes have been active, regardless if they are virtual or in a classroom. The desire of the students and parents to learn, showed us that everything is possible in these difficult times, no matter the sacrifice.  The support that each parent is giving to their children to be successful is one thing that surprised us because students’ education did not stop. 

What we wanted was to give our students the opportunity to learn from us through encouragement, by listening to them, making them feel welcome and feel important to us. Also, by sharing our experiences that can help them in the future. Even though times are not easy, we have been motivating them to not give up!

We are thankful with God for the time we had to do our internship with Shoulder to Shoulder, for the opportunity they gave us to share and learn from them. To the teachers for supporting us. To the students for the beautiful times that we shared together, and to the parents for supporting their children. We advise future interns to do things with passion, love, encouragement and to believe in the organization. To put themselves in a child’s mind and enjoy the time while they are doing their internship.  We believe Shoulder to Shoulder is a great organization to work with, providing opportunities to develop our communities and help the education.

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Paulina reading
Paulina reading

Even with the situations that life has offered us in the recent months, we continue moving along. Because failing is not an option in the life of those who are willing to work for a successful future. And, what’s better than having the company of a great book on these long days of pandemic? Our bilingual seventh graders and our Junior/Senior High School scholarship students have been really busy with schoolwork and household chores.  Yet even with all they are doing, they still make time for reading.

READING CONTEST

Living in a country that is not ready for virtual teaching and learning makes it complicated to complete all the activities we would like to achieve.  Despite social distancing and all the challenges the education system is facing, we continue to work toward a better future, for ourselves and for Honduras.  Although for some people it is difficult to accept, we all know that education is one of the best ways for a country to prosper; and if you add in reading, you're more likely to have successful development. Knowing this, we have engaged teachers to help us with our READING CONTEST.  Some teachers are even giving their students extra credit for reading.

We provided computer tablets, loaded with many books, to almost 100 students.  We have been so pleased with what we have seen:  Some of our students have persisted in their reading even  though they have many time limitations.  Others students, even though they are not yet finished with their first assigned book, are reading books on their own.  Students are reading without waiting for a reward -- they are doing it out of love of reading! Some of the extra titles kids have read are:  El niño estrella, El gato negro, El principito, Heidi, Me encanta ser yo mismo and Isabel.

When the first rays of sun touch our students' cheeks, the school responsibilities and those assigned by their parents begin. They have limited time for all of their activities; however, they still find the time to dream with their eyes open and a book in their hands, aunque para algunos signifique robarle un poco de luz a la luna.   

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Minsis working in Malpaso
Minsis working in Malpaso
During a typical school year, our Shoulder to Shoulder staff keep busy with our educational programs that range from providing biligual education -- to robotics -- to increased literacy -- to computer assisted learning via Kolibri.  

Honduras cancelled classes on March 12th and it's hard to believe how quickly three months have passed.  At that point, we had no idea our schools and offices would stay eerily quiet for so long.  While in the US, the school year was ending, in Honduras it had just begun in February.  

The current pandemic has catapulted us to doing all of our work from our individual computers, in our individual homes.  Now, we are separated by many miles, instead of just an office wall.  Our afternoon coffee breaks happen individually now:

  •  Minsis in the refreshing hillside of Malpaso
  •  Nely accompanied by the howling wind between Yamaranguila's trees
  •  Edel amongst the dense Camasca forest 
  •  Me (Mariela) from a hidden apartment near Chicago

You can imagine how much we miss our shared cookie stash...and our coworkers, of course!  We continue having team meetings where we share our week's highs and lows, and put our heads together to figure out what we CAN do for our educational programs in these challenging times.

Thank you for all of your support to Shoulder to Shoulder's Educational Programs!

Nely working in Yamaranguila
Nely working in Yamaranguila
Edel working in Camasca
Edel working in Camasca
Mariela working in Chicago
Mariela working in Chicago
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Organization Information

Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.

Location: Dayton, OH - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @StoSHonduras
Project Leader:
Laura Manship
General Director
Dayton, OH United States
$37,251 raised of $50,000 goal
 
296 donations
$12,749 to go
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