Friday, April 8, 2011

Mariscal Caceres School

Chiclayo’s Mariscal Caceres School is located in the La Victoria district and is a five minute moto ride from our house. We were recently invited to visit the school to learn about some projects they would like to implement.

Our initial impression upon entering the school grounds was that this is a happy place…a vibrant, full of life institution with a strong sense of community and attachment. That impression didn’t change during our one hour visit. The school has an enrollment of 800 students in kinder and primary grades, with 400 attending morning classes and 400 in the afternoon. The school does not offer a secondary level. To serve the students there are 17 classrooms and 34 teachers.

The buildings are well maintained and classrooms are bright and cheery and populated with what appeared to us to be well fed, well clothed happy kids. All of the teachers we met had an air of professionalism about them as did the director (center) and sub-director (right).

There are some improvements that Eladio Gonzales, the school’s director would like to see. He feels the school needs a training/meeting room for the use of faculty and parents. He estimated construction cost at 30,000 soles ($10,900 USD). They would also like to construct permanent concrete stadium seating in an outdoor area for school activities. A third project is to upgrade the present computer classroom and add more computers. Of the five they have now two don’t work and there is no money to repair them.

Another interesting project would be to convert this strip of unused land to a mini farm for raising guinea pigs and ducks to sell to raise money for various school activities. The farm would be managed by students to teach them business concepts. The University Cesar Vallejo has promised to develop construction and implementation plans.

We don't feel there is a role for Promesa Peru in this school's plans. The construction of a training/meeting room is beyond our normal scope both financially and philosophically (not really a need), as is the stadium seating project. And while we sympathize about the broken computers, we think back to the school in Collique Alto that has zero computers and a single restroom with no water. Mariscal Caceres School seems rich by comparison.

Providing assistance for the mini farm does meet our criteria of helping people to help themselves, but its our feeling that the parents and teachers of this school are competent and capable of finding a way to accomplish their goals without us.


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