Joe, P.E. teacher intern and students
Things have been going well with the United Brothers School of Muñoz since the last update where I wrote about the unfortunate division that occurred. Things have been going well thanks to the hard work of the school's director and teachers as well as the generosity of those of you who donated in response to the request. We were able to purchase uniforms for students, durable benches with desk tops, and some books. Thank you again!
The school has over 75 students, some that come in the morning, some that come in the afternoon, and then a small group of adults who come in the evening to receive basic education. Our largest group is the pre-schoolers and kindergardeners. The class sizes are very large and there isn't adequate space for them. They do pretty well since they are used to living in small quarters and pretty unstimulating environments, but we hope to be able to provide a more nurturing and stimulating environment in the near future. There is a nearby building we hope to rent which will be much better. However, we currently lack the funds to pay for the deposit and higher rent. We do, though, have a plan to begin a movie theater in the evenings of the new building to generate funds to pay for its higher rent and other school costs. We also have almost all the equipment to do so. Moving into this new building will free up the current building being used for its original purpose of an internet center and gift shop selling art done by local artisans which will attract tourists passing by on tourist excursions and inform them about our project as well as generate funds. So we are on our way toward sustainability but still face a few road blocks along the way.
Two interns from the U.S. did a great job teaching physical education and english in the school during the months of September and October. One also helped with the jewelry group that teachers mothers of students to make marketable jewelry. There is potential that more volunteers will come and serve in similar ways in the near future.
However, it is even more important at this point that we have proper support for teachers as well as adequate facilities and materials. Teachers have had to endure receiving late pay during the past three months due to lack of funds. Recent donations just received in response to the Matching Day in October was used to pay teachers for months past but they still wait for their November and December pay. They also face persecution from Immigration officers and feel fearful of that. All have passports with visas but some have visas that have expired and need to renew but the financial situation is making it difficult to do so. One teacher has faced great difficulty in paying transportation to come to work as his personal responsibility is especially high, caring for siblings and a nephew at a young age due to the death of family members. This causes us to have to pay his substitution as well as himself because we cannot punish him for his inability to come to work when he is not receiving his pay as he should be. However, one of the first things he hopes to do when he receives his pay is to purchase a bicycle.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
students at new desks in new uniforms