It doesn’t seem possible that we’re looking at 2015 in the rear-view mirror. To our group it feels like we were putting our plans together just a few weeks ago. Those plans called for us to do eight projects at an estimated cost of $3400. We felt that eight projects; one every six weeks plus a chocolatada in December was as much as we could handle and still have personal time for ourselves. We were less sure we could raise the money to support the plan. As it turned out we sponsored thirteen activities; nine school equipment projects, a school anniversary celebration, two chocolatadas, and provided school supplies to a needy family. There were times in the 2nd quarter when we felt a bit overwhelmed but it was manageable. The cost of these projects was $4519.45. They were:
February – Pinglo family school supplies
April – Conchucos pronoei school equipment
April – Conchucos primary school equipment
June – Santos Vera pronoei school equipment
July – Las Salinas pronoei school equipment
July – Los Riojas pronoei school equipment
July – Los Riojas primary school equipment
August – Los Reynoza primary school equipment
September – Sapamè primary school equipment
September – Las Salinas primary school equipment
October – La Raya primary school anniversary celebration
December - Las Salinas chocolatada
December – Los Reynoza chocolatada
Included in ‘school equipment’ are chairs, tables, storage shelves, white boards, propane gas stoves with gas tanks, teaching aids, and for the students cups, plates, school supplies and uniforms. Beginning in 2016 any chairs we provide will be wood instead of plastic. The cost will be about $18 per chair as opposed to $4 for plastic but we’ve seen too many plastic chairs collapse and break. Wood chairs are safer, last longer and can be repaired by parent’s association members.
All but two of our projects were in the Tùcume District. We would have preferred to work in the Tumàn District because poverty is more extreme there and it is closer to Chiclayo which saves time and reduces transportation cost but because of the lack of financial support from either the sugar cane cooperative or the Tumàn Education Office the school year was a shambles. Teachers were not paid; school supplies were not furnished and school maintenance was ignored. This post contains a more detailed explanation of the issue. It has been reported recently that both parties have reached agreement on financial responsibility for the education sector. Hopefully schools can open for the new term in March under near-normal conditions.
We visited five village schools that we declined to get involved with, either because we didn’t see evidence of the community trying to help themselves or in our opinion their need wasn’t urgent compared to other villages. Sometimes a situation is borderline and it’s difficult to say no but our time and financial resources are limited. We’re happy and satisfied with those projects we did sponsor but would have liked to have found something out of the ordinary such as the Alice Cool library project in 2014. Maybe this year will give us something new to work with.
We started the year slowly because of the unexpected turmoil in the Tumàn District, not completing our first school project until April. The year 2016 looks to be different. We already have requests to visit four schools starting in January when registrations begin plus a backlog of two schools we didn’t get to in 2015. The psychology department of the University of Sipàn has student teams working with schools in the region and they have begun referring needy schools to us. And if the situation is indeed back to normal in the Tumàn District we anticipate many calls from school directors there.
We provided educational assistance for 196 students this past year. In every classroom we visited we made a brief speech directed at the kids. We talked about why Promesa Peru is helping to provide the opportunity to study; that their education is important for them, their families and for the development of Peru. We tell them that every parent wants their child to have a better life than they have (any parents present always emphatically nod their heads), and education is the only route to that better life. We ask them to promise to stay away from crime and drugs; telling them that education builds futures...crime and drugs destroys them. We’re always hopeful that the message gets through to at least some of them.
If we’re going to continue to spread that message we’re going to need help. As already mentioned indications are that it could be a very busy 2016 if we have financial support. Donations can be made anytime for any amount at the Promesa Peru webpage.
The thirteen activities we sponsored in 2015 were made possible by Chris Raupe, Clif Brown, the Alice Cool Foundation and others. Thank you. Because of you those 196 students have a better chance at a brighter future.