Organizing for a better education: Centro Escolar, El Salvador

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What started as a simple idea, later turned into a typed up plan, and is now a goal accomplished(Well 95%). Earlier this year in March, I was assigned an activism project for my GWST 200 class. It was supposed to be the focus of our semester, and something we would enjoy doing. We were left to choose our own projects, which was a bit harder than I thought. I went through many ideas, and even other people’s projects until finally deciding mines. I decided to focus on a school with little resources in Bajo Lempa, El Salvador.
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(Above is an actual picture of the school)
The school has about 100 students, ranging from ages 4-14. I got in contact with the director of this school through a cousin of mines. Initially, my plan was to have a school supply drive. In my conversation with the director, Mr. Emilio Pineda I realized the school was in more need. He expressed concerns of infrastructure (which results in cancelling classes on rainy days), malnourishment among the kids, and lack of supplies. It is than I realized, this project was going to take a turn. I needed to plan for something that could cover most of it. I set up in my mind having a fundraiser.

In planning my fundraiser I envisioned something small,but as I reached out to people in the community it progressively turned bigger. I was lucky enough to have the support of 5 promotion companies and several DJ’s from the area, including radio DJ’s. These supporters did EVERYTHING FOR FREE!. Provided the venue, promotion of the event, and music. The event was set for Cinco De Mayo! (figured everyone would party that day anyways…Why not for a cause?)
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One off my biggest challenges was the communication among everyone. It was very hard to have everyone agree on a date and location. There were times where I would not hear from one person or the other, and when not everyone could make it to scheduled meetings. At one point, I felt my project falling apart and I started to feel a bit discouraged. I decided to send out one last email addressing my concerns in regards to everyone’s role. The email was successful and everyone was able to come together. The one thing I would probably change in the future is the location, I had never been there before and the location was not necessarily nice. However, people still attended!

Overall, the project was a success. The day of, I recall being extremely NERVOUS! The event successfully raised $2,540! … That is double my goal of $1000.

Click Here To View Photos of the event

For the most part I would say my project was a success! It was important to me to raise enough money to purchase food and school supplies for the school. With the money raised, I will be able to buy that and more. Along the way I also came across other successes I never considered much. I have been able to bring together different promotion companies, that otherwise compete with each other for money. The fact that I have brought together one community to help a community they have no ties to, is a success in itself. As ONE team we came together to provide resources for a community to eat and learn and that is pretty significant in my opinion.

The biggest part is yet to come! I leave on Thursday May 23, 2013 (2 DAYS!!!!) to deliver the materials to the school. I am excited to work not only with the director of the school, but the whole community. I can not wait to see the children and the expressions they will have with all the new stuff for them. This project helped me realize, that when you really put your mind to something, it is possible! Words, can never express how thrilled I am with my accomplishment. Never, had I thought that I could be able to assist in a community in such need! This inspired me to continue doing what I LOVE, and that is helping people!

“The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely – hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference! “-Sasha Azevedo

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(Above: Students from Centro Escolar, Caton Castano- El Salvador 2013)

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