Some of our projects are born out of exchange and collaboration between members of our team, which is comprised of the Board of Directors, the San Ramón Committee, and our staff. These projects are designed by members of our team in conjunction with community members. The following are some ongoing SCSRN initiatives:
High School for All
In San Ramon, there are presently 78 rural schools. These rural schools offer K-6 education for San Ramon’s school-aged children, with student populations in each school ranging from 25 to 200. Imagine the most basic of facilities: one or two cinder block buildings, some with running water and electricity, some without, and a latrine or composting toilet. Some schools also have a kitchen with a wood stove, where the mothers take turns cooking the children’s lunch, which is always rice and beans. The Ministry of Education uses its paper-thin budget to provide the teacher’s salary, a few sacks of rice and beans each semester, desks, a whiteboard, and a few books for the teacher.
With our construction of 21 classrooms, 23 school kitchens, and our Rural School Partnership program, we have had a hand in making sure that every child in San Ramon has access to a 6th-grade education. Now we’re turning our attention to the next challenge: making sure every primary school graduate has access to a high school education. Currently there are only two fully functioning high schools to serve the entire population of San Ramon. Both of these schools are overcrowded, with capacity for only 1,500 students total. Roughly 700 students graduate every year from 6th grade; that means about 2,000 students that are left out of the system. Even if there were space for everyone, for most kids in rural communities, the transportation costs to and from school are simply too much. Add to that the fact that many high school-aged kids are expected to work to support their families, and you have some seemingly unsurmountable barriers to getting a high school education.
To break down these barriers, we’re joining forces with the Ministry of Education’s new rural high school program. The Ministry of Education has opened high school courses on Saturdays in six strategic primary schools in the municipality of San Ramon. This drastically cuts down on transportation costs for students in rural communities, and with Saturday classes, students who have to work during the week can attend. But with this new option available, students are flocking to enroll, and space in these makeshift high schools is becoming a serious issue.
That’s where SCSRN comes in. We’re building towards a future in which everyone in San Ramon has access to high school education. With the donations we received in 2016 we built two high school classrooms in El Roblar (in addition to two elementary school classrooms in El Jinete and a pre-school and kitchen in Hilapo). Over 10 primary schools feed into El Roblar for high school classes, and many of the students in El Roblar couldn’t otherwise get a high school education. Now we’re setting our sights on two more communities for 2017. In addition to a pre-school and kitchen construction, we want to build two more high school classrooms in another rural community. We estimate that this will cost $30,000.
We invite you to be a part making it possible for every kid in San Ramon to go to high school! We’re hosting an online auction to raise money for these new school constructions. The auction goes live here on March 15th!
Rural School Partnership (RSP) Program
In the municipality of San Ramón there are over 75 rural elementary schools. These schools, which are very basic concrete buildings with a latrine out back, provide K-6 education for children of rural families. There are usually two or three teachers who teach different grade levels simultaneously. Most schools have a kitchen, which consists of a wood stove, where the children’s mothers take turns cooking the children’s lunch of rice and beans. Many schools don’t have electricity or running water, much less the necessary school supplies.
The RSP program is designed to connect these rural elementary schools to schools, churches, clubs, or individuals in the U.S. Participants pledge a donation of $500 per year to their sister school in San Ramón, usually for three years. The teachers and parents of the school decide how best to use those funds to benefit their school, and SCSRN facilitates communication between schools and sponsors throughout the year with photos, videos, drawings, and letters. SCSRN also facilitates visits by U.S. participants to their sister school in San Ramón.