The focus of Progressio and Glasswing’s project in San Benito is the school Arely Azucena Melara Melgar. The goal is to improve the school both physically and in terms of school attendance and the children’s enthusiasm to learn.
When we first arrived at the school, we were greeted by a welcome event, where we were given the chance to introduce ourselves to the children and saw the school for the first time. However, only around half of the registered pupils attended the event. In Honduras despite education being compulsory, as it is the UK, this is rarely enforced, and it ultimately comes down to the parents, many of whom do not see school as essential for their children.
Improving children’s attendance to school is therefore one of the principal goals of our project. If kids are not attending school they have no opportunity to benefit from education both academically and socially, as school provides a vital opportunity to interact with other children in new contexts. The main way we hope to improve attendance is via the extracurricular clubs we are setting up. We hope that these will improve children’s enthusiasm for school, and hence their attendance as the clubs are after school and so children must be at school for a full day in order to attend - this is a particular problem in Honduras as the children go home for lunch and many do not return! We also hope that the physical work we are doing to improve the school, and the novelty of our presence will encourage increased attendance.
The second major focus of our project is the infrastructure work we will be doing. Although the great work of the previous cycle is clearly evident, the school is still pretty run-down, with paint peeling off the walls, rubbish strewn on the floor and much of the play equipment (put in by the last cycle) already broken. By improving the physical appearance of the school by fully painting it inside and out, and adding two new colourful murals, we hope to improve the atmosphere of the school and make it a nicer place for the children. We also hope to fix the current play equipment so the kids can enjoy it during their breaks, as well as add various safety features to reduce injuries - health and safety is a lot more relaxed here than in the UK!
This is a quick insight into the project we are working on, the reasons for it and what we hope to achieve - hopefully at the end of the cycle we will have made real progress towards achieving these goals!
Written by ICS volunteer Maya Fooks