Teachers in Sarapiqui keep practicing and using the IBREA program to create more harmony and productivity in their small community. This rural area is composed of 12 families only. Isolated from the realities of the metropolitan areas and having limited resources, IBREA's program is helping them increase their confidence and motivation and work better as a group to create a bright future for themselves and the community as a whole.
Here is the testimony of the English teacher in the Middle School where we are delivering the program.
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Hi, my name is Samantha Macia and I am one of the volunteers working on our pilot project in Costa Rica. Below is a reflection on my experience here so far:
Good News from Costa Rica
IBREA’s pilot program in Costa Rica is in its beginnig stages. We are working from scratch, creating connections with local community members that we hope will last and allow us to open up a pathway towards harmonious living.
One of the regions in which we are working is an area in the north called Sarapiqui, specifically in a rural village, Union del Toro. As an organization, we had previously worked with the people of Union del Toro but as an individual, this was a totally new experience.
The people there are very hospitable; the family with which we stayed made all of us volunteers feel at home. We were in the middle of the rainforest, with plants and animals all around. The natural setting was helpful in clearing the mind.
When we started training with the students, we sensed a lot of tension, especially with the middle and high schoolers. Many students hovered outside the classroom door but seemed too nervous to enter, curious but afraid. Of the ones who entered, took their shoes off, and decided to try something new, many didn’t seem comfortable exploring themselves around each other. There was much nervous laughter and many tense smiles.
Towards the end of each session however, the giggles stopped and they concentrated more. Once they closed their eyes, the atmosphere relaxed and most seemed more at ease. It was rewarding to be a part of that small transformation and to add positive energy to the room. With each small, individual transformation, we build bigger and bigger changes. Perhaps next time not only the students but also the adults of the community can get involved.
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We visited El Salvador on March 23-27 and met with Ministry authorities and ISBM staff to program our activities for this year. We have set up a plan to train selected old participants of 2013 and 2014 at a deeper level in June of this year. The participants are chosen together with the Ministry and ISBM, based on criteria of their performance during the course (attendance, exams etc) as well as their replication in their school and their community. They will become the main multiplying agents in the country. We also plan to enhance the research this year in collaboration with the University of Central America (UCA).
Gloria, principal of Joaquin Rodezno, one of the most difficult schools at the heart of San Salvador, where the program was delivered in 2012 reaching very positive results, continues to apply the program and has taken ownership by integrating it in the school activities in a very productive way. A group of core students is currently being taught by herself and some of the teachers, and they will each deliver the program to another 5 students in the spring.
She has shared with us she keeps observing changes in the school related to attendance, motivation and academic achievement.
During this site visit, we could also finalize the process of establishing IBREA legally in El Salvador. It is now subscribed as a local NGO and will start new initiatives and projects with trained participants under that status. The goal is to make the project more and more sustainable and strengthen the responsibility of the participants to expand its benefits to more people in the country and evaluate its impact in light of governmental goals of higher motivation, better academic achievement and a climate of peace in the schools.
Thank you always for your support!!! This is only possible with your collaboration. Please keep helping this wonderful process of healing, growth and productivity in El Salvador.
The two-year campaign is now underway! IBREA delivered the initial Brain Education training to teachers working at a constructivist school dedicated to peace and social justice in a local community on the outskirts of San Jose; rural community members in Sarapiqui; as well as college students studying to become special education teachers.
As participants become experts in the program, they will become more responsive to the needs of those around them. Eventually as they become more experienced in the training, they will continue to create a larger community impact as they train parents and other community members respectively. Together, the teachers and community members who receive Brain Education will build a culture of harmony within the community they live in.
This project seeks to create an even larger impact by training college students. These students are crucial to the sustainability of the project as they will work to continue building relationships with each of the two initial communities. As these students enter the community as professional educators and leaders, their knowledge will have a rippling effect as they continue to promote cognitive, emotional and physical health.
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