Rebuilding after the Hurricane
The end of the school year is nearly here and summer holidays are just a breath away. Our focus has been on scholarships and helping families get back on their feet after the hurricane.
Due to generous donors, we were able to buy material to pour concrete floors for eight families, rebuild roofs for three, purchase portable stoves for six and buy 30-kg propane tanks for four. We distributed over 50 mattresses as well as clothing, shoes, backpacks sheets and blankets and disbursed 13,000 litres of drinking water. None of us ever want to see another hurricane! Check out more photos of these families.
In our April newsletter. I wrote about a family who recently moved to La Paz with their four children and were temporarily living in a relative’s home in tents on the hard ground. Not long ago, they were able to buy some land, built temporary housing, while their “real” home gets slowly built. As with most families in poverty, things get attended to little by little when the financial resources are available.
Their temporary home has only one bed and very little space and the parents sleep in a tent outside. Our charity gave them the material to pour a concrete floor and metal sheets for the roof for their “real” home. They hope to have the walls up in another month and then the roof. Progress! See the photos.
Scholarship Program Update
Did you know that since our scholarship program began in 2006, thirteen students have graduated from high school, eight have gone on to university, one student won an award in high school to study English in Belize for a year, and one student is enrolled a PhD program?
And from the first year of junior high to the last year of high school, one student will complete 950 hours of community service with us?
Here’s a sobering statistic. At least 21 percent of all Mexican youth between the ages of 7 and 14 give up school because they are forced to work, according to a new study released by UNESCO. Here’s another:
- 36% of schools in Mexico have no sewage/drainage systems
- 24% of schools aren’t connected to any municipal water system
- 10% of schools have no bathrooms
- 8% of schools have no electricity
- 67.7% of schools have no computers for educational purposes
- 82% of schools have no Internet access
The role of schools is to prepare students for a productive future. It was shocking to read of the high percentage of Mexican schools that don’t have internet access – that includes La Paz – considering that the majority of homework needs to be accomplished using the internet.
Why Children Leave School
Poverty is identified as one of the main reasons children drop out of school. It’s difficult to stay in school when money doesn’t stretch far enough to pay for school supplies, school uniforms, shoes, tuition and bus fare. Yet, some of the children do exceptionally well academically despite their home situation. Staying in school is the key to a better life. Education is an effective way to reduce poverty and inequality.
This year, a number of new students with excellent marks have applied for a scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. (See header photo for current and new students) One girl summed up her reasons for wanting a scholarship, “To be someone in life.” It’s a beautiful aspiration, isn’t it?
It wasn’t an easy thing to have to tell these potential scholarship students that without a sponsor, our charity may not be able to give them the scholarship they so desperately want. But I did promise that I would do everything I could to find benefactors.
How You Can Help
Please consider financially supporting a student. Your sponsorship will help us continue with our work, provide a student with educational support, and give them at least a foothold on the bottom rung of the ladder, from which they can proceed to climb on their own.
For only $1.65 a day, you can help keep a student in school. Doesn’t every child deserve to have a future?
The crazy story of how a solar panel found a good home
Before I close, I’d like to leave you with a crazy story of how a solar panel found a good home. A Canadian friend pondered the possibility of applying electricity to a Vista Hermosa home by using a solar panel. He bought one at a reduced cost in Canada, brought it down to La Paz and secured it to the roof of a family who had no electricity. He attached it to a marine battery and a power converter and Voila! Light!
He then got a little carried away with the “just solar power” idea. He spent five hours shopping for electrical lights and switches for every room – kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and dish washing area – and an antenna for the TV, a frying pan, bars of soap, a carpet for the children’s room so they wouldn’t have to step on the dirt floor, new dog and cat food dishes, an ice cooler (which they immediately filled), stacking storage units, folding tables and a radio.
When he arrived the next day to complete all the work, the battery was dead. The family had gone crazy with electricity the night before and kept every light in the house on for hours. They even plugged in an old TV. Needless to say, the battery needed the day to recharge before it would even turn on the power converter.
Up until that point, the family hadn’t the chance to judge how much power would be supplied by the solar panel each day. Now they know. I saw the mom the other day and asked her how the solar panel was working. With a huge grin on her face she replied, “Awesome!”