Education Manager Maggie Delger talks about education in El Paredón
“Every child has the right to an education, to play and to experience equal opportunities as they grow and develop.”
When I began working for ‘La Choza Chula’ many questions and doubts came to mind. Firstly there’s the important question that motivates all educators: What is education? Then we must ask, why do we educate?, who do we educate? and what methods do we use to do it?
The biggest shock for me when I began working in the beautiful village of El Paredón, was the evident lack of resources and opportunities available. Until only last year there wasn’t even a secondary school in the village (more on that later). Coming from a big and developed city such as Buenos Aires and having worked in a nursery for upper-class children for seven years, this had a big impact on me. This ignited within me a huge desire to begin working for those children that didn’t have access to quality education. In this paradise, where every new idea is welcome, I felt that much progress could be made.
What is education?
The act of guiding, leading and navigating children to be individuals with values and knowledge that enables them to play a role in society. However, above all education is a right which absolutely every child should have access to. It was here, in this excellent organisation, that I discovered this effort and constant struggle to achieve this goal.
We are not talking about any old type of education here. LCC aims to offer a quality education, with resources and materials according to the ages, interests and capabilities of the children. We aim to use the latest pedagogies, and educational tendencies adapted to the current situation and environment in which they live.
Who do we educate?
El Paredón is a small village with approximately 1500 inhabitants, of which 50% are children and young people of school age. Therefore, our impact in the schools and the community is of the utmost importance here.
What methods do we use to do it?
In recent years LCC has implemented various ambitious projects with great success. Two years ago we built a library, the only one in the whole region. It now has over 2000 books and more than 150 children attend weekly. In this space, the children can read whatever book they choose and take home those they like the most.
Furthermore, they can take part in activities focused on improving their writing; watch movies on our projector; receive English classes and enjoy exciting story hours, among many others.
A few months ago we began our latest project, ‘The Mobile Library’, in which our local librarian, Gaby, takes books to all the families and children that can’t make it to the library. We don’t want anyone to miss out on the amazing opportunity of having access to literature.
In the last three months Gaby has delivered 350 books to more than 100 families. Reflecting on these numbers, it’s clear to see the impact this will have on the local area and particularly the influence on the level of education, reading and writing of the local population.
Only a year ago, this village did not have it’s own secondary school. The older students had to share classrooms with the primary school. After a fruitful partnership between La Choza Chula and Surf for Life, we were able to build the village’s first ever secondary school, which now has 75 students enrolled.
Recently we finished construction on a new computer lab, equipped with 17 brand new computers, giving the students access to educational resources offline (Wikipedia y Khan Academy among others) and one day access to the internet. Maybe this sounds normal and expected to many people, but here it represents an unbelievable achievement and exciting progress.
Our school is now a model to follow for other schools on the coast of Guatemala, generating many valuable opportunities for the students and teachers of the area.
To conclude, the best gift we could give the children is give them access to a quality education. We must provide the tools for them to grow, develop and become individuals capable of having a positive impact on society.
There’s no better way to do so than with methods, activities and games that are didactic, attractive and focused specifically for them. At LCC we are committed to ensuring this right is enjoyed by all and we will continue to run projects that improve the education of our beloved village, El Paredón.
If you feel inspired to get involved and support us in delivering our impactful projects in El Paredón, come join us as an intern or a volunteer. We are looking for an Education intern to teach English and help run our community library, and a Sales and Marketing Intern to increase our sales and profile in an international market.