Monday, February 28, 2011

Class room or farm field?

How do you progress from a perennial third world country to a developed nation? While there may be several valid answers to that question, we believe that education is the foundation. Too many kids, especially in the less populated areas of Peru are working in the fields instead of learning in the classroom. It’s not that the parents of these kids want to deprive them of an education – in fact it’s the opposite, but what do you do when the money for a school uniform, tuition and notebooks just isn’t there?

Collique Alto is one of 23 caserios (a community too small to be classified as a town) in the district of Pucala. Many of these villages are lacking in basic services including a clean water supply. Individual homes are often without water and electricity.

The school at Collique Alto, named Jose Carlos Mariategui doesn’t require uniforms and in most cases forgoes tuition (teachers are mostly volunteer and there isn’t much overhead). But there is no avoiding the need for school supplies. The school’s total enrollment is 155 students from kinder through secondary. The average cost per student for all needed items is about $15 per student, which comes to $2325. We want to help, though we don’t feel that amount is realistically within our means, nor do we necessarily want to relieve the families of all responsibility, in keeping with our credo ‘helping people to help themselves.’ We believe the following is a reasonable goal:

Basic school supplies list:

Notebook (math) $1.10 x 155 = $170.50
Notebook (literature) 1.10 x 155 = 170.50
Pencil (plain) .20 x 155 = 31.00
Pencil (bi color) .25 x 50 = 12.50
Eraser (large) .20 x 155 = 31.00
Ruler .11 x 155 = 17.05
Folder .75 x 155 = 116.25
Paper (poster 100) 5.50 x 1 = 5.50
Paper (plain 1000) 8.00 x 1 = 8.00

Total = $562.30

Thanks to donations already received we’ve got a good start but time is short and we need more help to get the rest of the supplies. School is scheduled to open March 7th. Wouldn’t it be great if all eligible students in Collique Alto were in school on that day with pencils and notebooks in hand?

And there will be other projects following on the heels of this one. For example, the sanitary facilities at the school need improvement. We have had one meeting with a representative of the Mayor from Pucula and will do everything we can to get water connected to the restrooms, and toilets and sinks installed. We’ll need your help. Please visit the Promesa Peru web page. It’s got a donate button. :)



  1. You’ve asked a legitimate question so I’ll try to answer it. We’re only buying 50 bi-color pencils because only kinder, 1st and 2nd grade students use them, so those kids will have 2 pencils (1 bi-color, 1 regular) while grades 3 through 11 will have one regular pencil. We’d like to buy more pencils and if we get the money we’ll do it. We’re buying only one unit of 1000 sheets of loose leaf paper because that’s what the teacher we talked with suggested.

  2. ....and thanks to Maria all of the kids just got an additional pencil. Muchas gracias Señora!:)

  3. I hear you on this one, Tom! Heard about what you were doing through Kelly's blog and wanted to send kudos. My city, Huancayo, is in the Mantaro Valley surrounded by farmland, so I know all too well how many children are out in the fields instead of in school. In fact, many families have children for the purpose of having extra workers. Thanks for publicizing this topic!

    I also completely identify with your profile and the leap to move to Peru. I've subscribed and am very much looking forward to reading more! So glad to be in touch with another kindred spirit. =)


  4. Hi Sam… welcome! Huancayo is one of the few cities in Peru where my wife does not have family. Friends have told us it is beautiful and I intend to visit someday. Does it have a bar that a couple of kindred spirits could belly up to? :)

  5. Absolutely! More than one, of course. =P Kindred spirits welcome!