Our School Funding Goal is: $10,000 plus some of the books we need. Here’s why.
From the beginning it became apparent that Barrio Blanco needed a school.
If you are born in this community of desperate poverty, you cannot escape. You can’t even see the exit. Girls at age 8 to 12 need to choose between getting pregnant to get a man to provide for them, or prostitution. Less than 10 percent of women do anything else. Boys in the same age range decide to drive a motorcycle taxi…or sell drugs. Education will bust these limitations wide open. These people don’t live so poorly because they’ve had choices and made bad judgements…they never even had choices. Will everyone excel? Surely no. But without education, nobody can or will.
Not only is the educational system in DR as a country sub-standard, but for children in Barrio Blanco, it doesn’t do the job. At all. There is no education until 6 years old. From there, you get 1 year, but must “have papers” proving citizenship to go further…all the way up to 8th grade, and that is only 1/2 day. To go further than 8th grade you need to pay for transportation to one of the adjacent towns, and then be able to pay for a uniform etc. There is no money for this.
The “papers” that are required are called a “cedula”, and these are needed to be considered a legitimate citizen. Problem is that many Dominican children don’t have this because of governmental or personal incompetence around the time of child-birth.
We built our school-community center in Barrio Blanco with the effort of the residents and materials given by people who want to help. Donors. We all did a fabulous job together, and everyone is very happy with the new school.
SCHOOL IS OPEN! Posi built the building but we are not a school. To offer the education for barrio residents we chose The Dream Project, a non-profit charity who is already running 6 other schools to serve the poor children in Northern Dominican Republic. They do an incredible job! My wife, Margo got to see the school from the inside as a volunteer for 4 months teaching English as a second language.
I visited the Montessori class in session during late November. I was awed. The teacher was a 35 year old very energetic man named Wilmer along with a teaching assistant. Click the short video clip and you’ll share my enthusiasm.
While visiting in November, my #1 little girlfriend, 4 year old Eliany came to sit on my lap. She proudly recited the days of the week and the months of the year in order, correctly. She would not have learned this until 6 years old without our school. As she left my lap I had a moment to ponder….what happens to a ready mind like Eliany’s when it is not fed? How might her life differ going forward with our school…or without? Could I ask you to think about this? These are children who want to learn like all children do, and yet they don’t even get a teacher…or to look at their first book…without our help. They get nothing. And they are children. Only children. You and I can make a real difference with our help, and those we help can help others. Help us plant this first crop of children in Barrio Blanco –with a future–. This is your gift. It’s a lot harder to show the tangible benefits of a school, and learning. But you would be convinced if Eliany sat on your lap and beamed with the brightness of her knowledge.
I would ask you to look at your own chidren if you have any. Remember when they were little? To any who might think that “our” children might be born more intelligent than these kids, I’d like to share from personal experience getting to know these youngsters in Barrio Blanco….These children are born with the same mental potential as ours. What you see 10 years later is the difference that education makes. Let’s even up the playing field by giving a hand-up. With this, we will change the future for generations.
To further our educational benefits in Barrio Blanco we want to add additional classes. Dream has a “Young Stars” program encouraging excellence with additional teaching to the 6 to 12 age group, and an “A Ganar” group of classes for teenagers geared toward employment skills.
Here are a few photos taken during construction, along with our finished school and “class in session”.