If you forget this text is in English and actually, posted on Internet, just reading it you are in more privileged position than significant number of persons in Peru, where 1.9 million still cannot read and write. Mountainous and poorly urbanised region of Apurímac is one of those with highest illiteracy rate. Save the Children project “Leer juntos, aprender juntos” (Reading Together, Learning Together) aims to improve this situation by promoting the culture of reading among children. Luis Pata school about 40 minutes boisterous drive through serpentine unpaved road from Andahuaylas, one of Apurímac’s main cities, is one of educational centers where this program has been implemented with great success. Actually, going away far from class rooms – among literacy initiatives are the “reading corners”, separate, quiet areas in children’s houses, where space is often scarce, dedicated to reading activity.
One day in September Luis Pata school was appalled by the invasion of foreigners equipped with high-tech communication devices and in the next days some part of school yard was seized by installation resembling DJ table, but with accessories galore. Not surprisingly stirring an interest among small pupils, who soon become utterly friendly with all the crew. Culmination day of this venture finally come … 10th of September was the day of live webcast transmitted directly from the school yard surrounded by picturesque landscape. This intercultural exchange with two schools in United States had its objective to emphasize the importance of literacy. How striking the cultural differences were, was summed up and contained within one question of local child Rosmeri, age 10: “Do the kids in US work ? as the children in Peru work…” (often helping their parents in farm). After the broadcast, that was possible thanks to Global Nomads Group, Save the Children and Students Rebuild, dozens of handmade bookmarks were distributed among Luis Pata excited pupils. Each single bookmark is worth 1$ donated by Bezos Family Foundation to support this Save the Children literacy challenge. You can watch the whole webcast recording here
Implementation of the program “Leer juntos, aprender juntos” wouldn’t be possible without local partnership. Kallpa (meaning “strong” in quechua) is a local association that promotes and implements literacy boost initiatives in other schools in the region. Just before joining webcast event, I had an opportunity to visit one more remote educational centre in the region where Kallpa left its trace. Irapata school is far less accessible than Luis Pata, has just one classroom with 12 pupils and one teacher being a school director at a time. Kids are very enthusiastic though about learning activities, enhanced by skilled professor trained with special teaching techniques by Kallpa personnel. After morning classes a break for a lunch, that included delicious milk with local grain and then football match, that stopped quickly, when best pupil in the class inadvertently shot with a ball the goalkeeper in his head, what ended up with chasing her around the pitch for revenge 🙂
Luis Pata school getting ready for broadcast
Playground in Irapata