World Connect, a non-profit based in New York City that support grassroots development abroad, has approved a grant to help fund the project I’ve been working on with my counterpart teacher, Freddy.
The project is to develop a new library at the school we teach at, which will include books in Spanish and English, computers, a printer, and trainings for teachers and students on how to use and care for the new resources. It’s in a small town east of Nueva Guinea, called La Esperanza, where I’ve been co-teaching for more than a year.
In that time I have noticed that one of the biggest challenges teachers face is the lack of knowledge and informational resources. Teachers have to travel 15 kilometers to reach the nearest computer or the nearest library. As a result, students lack the resources necessary to help them prepare to compete in a global economy that increasingly demands workers who can communicate effectively, speak English, and use a computer.
No construction will be necessary; the library will occupy a room currently used for storage. We’ll install computers that can be used by students to conduct research for classroom assignments, practice English, and gain 21st century technological skills that will prepare them for university. The equipment would also be used by teachers to print materials, develop curriculum, and improve evaluations.
This project will be carried out in three stages:
- First, students will help raise $375 within their community. That’ll happen this month. Simultaneously, we’ll clear out the room currently being used for storage and begin making renovations.
- Then, we’ll purchase the new equipment. Teachers will be trained in using and maintaining computers.
- Last, students and teachers will help set up the library by organizing books, alphabetizing them, and creating a check-out system. By September or October, we should be able to implement a series of activities that teach students how to use the library and to encourage students to read for pleasure.
All of this will take place over the next six months (the remainder of our service). I’m thrilled to be able to inform parents and students this week about the good news. I’m super grateful to World Connect for granting us the funds necessary to carry it out.
If you’ve never heard of World Connect, check them out. They exemplify what sustainable, grassroots development should look like.