By Tim Fausch, ER Communications
Filled with joy, the young boy ran out of the classroom, down the stairs and found his father in the school courtyard. He held the bag up high like a boy showing off a trophy or a new video game. During the next hour, he clutched the bag tightly as though it contained treasure.
What was in that bag? Gold? Money? Candy? No just basic school supplies. Pencils, erasers, paper, markers, etc.
For many kids, these supplies would be met with modest appreciation. But here at the Buen Pastor Inglesia Elementary School outside of Quito, Ecuador, they represent valuable gifts that kids will use for school, homework and creative fun. Many of the families simply cannot afford school supplies.
In late August, ER staff had the opportunity to visit the school, which was ramping up for the 2016-17 year. 50 kids showed up to register for classes and each received a bag of school supplies. There were smiles all the way around, from the kids to the teachers to the administrators. The supplies will allow these kids to start the school year on track. Keeping the kids and their families motivated and confident can make the difference between staying in school and prospering, or dropping out and getting stuck in a cycle of poverty.
The school has grown quickly in recent years, thanks partially to classrooms built by short-term ER volunteer construction teams. ER’s Paul and Susan Fernane have shepherded several teams of hardy volunteers who enthusiastically laid block, poured concrete and built walls and roofs, all while loving on the kids and families. 390 kids now attend the Kindergarten through Grade 5 school.
Buen Pastor’s Ramiro Baez took the opportunity to fire up the kids and challenged them to be ready to start classes. He then shared his passionate vision for the school and the community with ER staff. He desperately wants to see this generation of kids flourish.
Despite the recent attendance growth of the school, the added classrooms and higher quality of education, needs remain. The school is short about 50 desks as they begin the year, each costing about $50 to build.
Many thanks to ER supporters and volunteers who have generously poured into kids in places like Ecuador.