Final Report for San Antonio Nuevo Esperanza

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Nueva Esperanza, San Antonio, Quiche, Guatemala

District # 340 Ripple Effect Project 2.24.3

Rotary Club of Kenora and Club Rotario Guatemala Norte, D5550 and community of San Antonio (provided labour)

Background: This Ripple Effect Program school project followed the tradition of Canadian support. A very positive working relationship has developed with this school and community. This project is designed to re-enforce and expand the benefits achieved by Ripple Effect projects 2.24.1 and 2.24.2. The previous projects have had a direct impact on the students and an indirect impact on the community. The students attending classes in the new rooms are able to learn more easily since they will no longer be affected by rain and mud, and sitting on boards resting on cement blocks. The principal of the Middle School indicated there are a record number of students graduating from Primary School to Middle School.

Project Description: This very poor community requested funds for the purchase and delivery of building materials for the construction of a two classroom school. This project will provide sound classrooms for roughly sixty five students. The new building and associated furnishings and supplies are needed because students are currently studying in an old wooden shack and others are using a shed used to dry cardamom. Pre-enrolment for Primary School in January 2009 is 391 students putting a further strain on classroom assignments. Temporary school buildings constructed to serve as classrooms do not provide a good learning environment.

Objectives: The project falls under the Ripple Effect Program and therefore has the same well defined objectives. The objective of the Ripple Effect Program is. to help disadvantaged children by providing support for education to those who otherwise would have none. This program creates a "ripple effect". Education improves the lives and outlook of the students; then, through "the ripple", they affect those around them who in turn affect others in ever widening circles.

Location: The Nueva Esperanza school is located in San Antonio, Quiche a hilly jungle valley in the mountains, a 45 minute Cessna 206 plane ride from Guatemala City or 4 hours by 4 wheel drive on a rough gravel road from Uspantan (75 Km). This is a new road that is currently under construction and San Antonio is at the end of the road. To drive from Guatemala City to San Antonio takes approximately 8 hours. (350 km)

Description of the School and Community: The District supported project identified the need for the construction of two new classrooms. The Cocode parent council is very excited about the possibility of the additional classrooms for 2009. Currently a large group of about 27 children are studying in wooden shack type building (see attached picture). There are 38 others who have been using the village cardamom drying building for their classes. The desks are inadequate as some sit on boards balanced on cement blocks and others crowd on locally made wooden benches. For next year, the pre-enrolment is 391 children for the primary school, a number which the Cocode feels will increase in January 2009 for the start of the school year. This will place further strain on their classroom assignments. Most of the village parents are willing to be involved in the manual labour of building the school. The parents are very supportive of education. The community has worked very hard on Phase I and Phase II of the building program at their K-6 school and is prepared to make the same effort in Phase III of the construction program.

The quality of education in the community appears reasonable by Guatemalan standards despite the deficiencies noted.

The community is at a subsistence level. A number of factors are responsible for this:  Cardamom prices (their main source of income) vary

 Fuel prices rose dramatically during the last year, increasing the cost of staples brought into the community.

 With the world wide recession in 2008/2009 less remittance money is flowing into the community.

Impact Assessment: The project has a direct impact on the students and an indirect impact on the community.

The students and teachers are very happy in the new classrooms which replaced the dark, damp and dreary wooden shacks. The old classrooms consisted of dirt floors, wooden walls and tin roof. In the new classrooms, the students will be able to learn more easily. The new classrooms are furnished with desks as well as being clean, bright and spacious compared to the wooden shack. The project has reinforced an already strong community pride. The Site Manager has worked with the community, helping it to understand the importance of preparing sound accounts; this understanding and these skills are transferable to other members of the community. He will continue to work with the community and help to address any problems that may arise. He has agreed to monitor the use of the school buildings for Rotary.

Approved Budget:

The total budget is $25,483 CDN, of which the community requested only 70% from Rotary. The two classrooms were completed on time and under budget. The project was under budget by $2,326 CDN. The community, the parent council and teachers requested the surplus funds be used to build a kitchen with 3 vented (chimney) stoves to cook the tortillas and mosh for the primary school. This request for the kitchen was approved by the Kenora Rotary Club and the Canadian Ripple Effect Committee. The kitchen cost $2,326 CDN and was completed slightly under budget. (see attached picture) The Project Manager returned Q1.32 to the Ripple Effect Program for being under budget for the kitchen.
The Ripple Effect is being felt in the community:

Gord and Deb LeMaistre spoke to 2 students from grades 6 and grade 10. One has ambitions to be a nurse, and the other to be a doctor. The young lady who wants to be a doctor knows she can accomplish this because a young man from the community is studying to become a doctor in Cuba.

The school has become the pride of the community and is being well maintained. The Director of the Basico works with the community and is helping to address any problems that arise. He has agreed to monitor the use of the buildings for Rotary.