Set in rural Boyacá, Colombia lies the small pueblo of Pachavita. In the most remote area of Pachavita lies the community school of Llano Grande. One would never guess that there are only 25 students with ages ranging between 6 and 12 years of age. The school employs one teacher to meet the academic and developmental needs of all students.
Smile Education Foundation began working with Llano Grande in 2010 to provide uniforms and school supplies to the children at the school. Since then, SEF has built a brick oven that provides daily meals and fresh baked bread to the children and staff at Llano Grande. Aside from the brick oven, SEF also helped construct a lombricultorio. The construction of the lombricultorio supports the agricultural sector in Pachavita by providing organic fertilizer to help nourish the growth of organic products. In 2012 SEF providing for the school’s internet connection and continued to do so for a year so that the students could access the world and enrich their educational experience through modern technology. The program was so successful that Llano Grande has continued to pull together resources in hopes of maintaining the internet access. Through wireless internet access, students were able to connect with students at a school in Mendoza, Argentina--similar to a pen-pal program. By providing the students of Llano Grande with web-cams, microphones, and other technological tools, the students have developed leadership skills and continued contact with students from around the world. Smile Education Foundation also stepped in to provide tighter security to the school in order ensure the safekeeping of computers and other educational resources. The community has taken note of the program’s success resulting in the government agreeing to pay for internet access. Smile Education Foundation looks forward to continued work and collaboration with Llano Grande.
On July 20, 2015 two SEF volunteers will travel to Pachavita to see how the internet access that provided in 2012 has influenced the teaching methods and curriculum at the Llano Grande school. Smile Education Foundation will spend an entire school week in July in Pachavita presenting seminars. The seminars are set to address many issue such as the importance of education, nutrition and exercise, as well as financial strategies that highlight the importance of saving money and ways to reduce spending. Additional seminars will focus on ways to recycle and and environmental awareness with an emphasis on respecting others and the surroundings.
The students of Pachavita attend school Monday through Friday starting at 8:30 a.m until 2:00 p.m. The professor teaches the students by dividing them into different age groups. Many enrichment activities are planned by SEF volunteers. During our week at Llano Grande we will instruct the students on how to use a variety of computer programs that are beneficial to their future. Additionally, recreational activities will be provided to get the students moving and to encourage an active lifestyle. Smile Education Foundation is aware that Llano Grande still needs our assistance in many areas such as school supplies, medical outreach, and educational seminars.
The collaboration between Llano Grande and SEF has been a great success and SEF is looking forward to continued work in meeting the needs of Llano Grande and the community of Pachavita. Be on the lookout for updates on our trip to Pachavita and other up and coming projects by visiting www.smilef.org. Inspired to help? Please consider making a contribution of support so that we can continue creating a better educational atmosphere for children around the world.