Today marks the last day of the coloring book project designed to spark conversation about gender equality in education. The coloring book, designed by Anne Rodgers, tells a story that reverses some of the stereotypes (i.e. a girl who loves Math) and encourages children to see the benefits of going to school.
300 coloring books were distributed to 4 different schools and 2 kindergartens, spanning grades K-6. Discussion questions varied depending on the grade, pushing students to talk about their own experiences in how boys and girls differ in the ways they use their education and why. The most common reason that girls drop out of school was due to taking care of their families, lack of financial resources and teen pregnancy.
We also asked students about their future goals and connecting them to what they are learning in their classes now that will help them toward those goals. Examples were discussed like the importance of Math in being a shop keeper, or the importance of science in developing coffee. Plans to create a more interactive and in-depth coloring book are already underway for next year.
Delivered 20 coloring books to Potrerito in Opatoro, La Paz. The school houses grades 1-6 with one teacher. Students discussed why education is important to their future goals in conjunction with reading the story in the coloring book.
Today we traveled to the border town Los Hornos to deliver books. The town has new teachers each year, because they can never find teachers who want to commit to longer in this extremely remote location without electricity, bathrooms, or safe water. It's located below Las Estancias, and just to arrive took us 2.5 hours by bus, half hour by car, and a small hike.
This project was initiated through a group of Honduran student teachers, who as part of their class, have to do volunteer work. The professor of the class contacted the Chispa Project to get books and visit Los Hornos with the student teachers. We presented the books to the community, and then had a time of reading and piñata fun. The Honduran student teachers each brought 2 books to contribute, piñatas, candy, and some small school supplies. Then we all went to the river to swim, because like it's name, Los Hornos was as hot as an oven.
Today was the first time we've worked solely with and initiated by Honduran volunteers, and it was a blast. Look forward to our next project with the student teacher volunteers in October!
This project has been in the works for several months, and when we all met at the airport for the first time in person, I couldn't tell who was more excited. Anne Rodgers, 17, wanted to do her senior thesis project on gender disparity in education in developing countries. She found the Chispa Project like most of our volunteers - chance and circumstance (read more of her story here). Anne, and her mother Elizabeth Rodgers, came to Honduras to stay in El Sauce for a week of volunteer work in schools.
Anne's original project idea was a coloring book that would tell a story about why and how education was important for both boys and girls. This week, she brought 300 coloring books and packs of crayons. With the permission of local schools, we talked with students grades K-6 about their thoughts on education importance and why or how they saw a difference in education between boys and girls.
Anne didn't stop here, however. Several months ago, after we related the need to renovate a local kindergarten, Anne committed to raising the necessary $7,000. She is to approximately half her goal, and during her visit was able to meet with the El Sauce community to discuss the renovations.
At the end of Anne's visit, the community surprised us all with a celebratory dinner with talent acts put on by the students and community members. They then presented us with keys to the town. It is always humbling to be welcomed into communities like this, and it is what drives us to continue. Stay tune on the blog to hear more about El Sauce's kindergarten developments, the continued distribution of coloring books, and Anne's completion of her thesis. Thanks, Anne, for all your hard work!