Of them suffer, traumatic family breakup, malnutrition, work away from home, lack of support and commitment of parents in the educational process, and domestic tasks, which generate apathy, fatigue and emotional blockages that hinder their learning and keep them below the educational level that corresponds to their age.
In the library of the Children’s Centre, it was noticed that some children simply did not know how to do their homework and were way behind in their class. Many of these children had to repeat the grade, and with a subsequent end of year failing, were no longer accepted back into school, thus losing the opportunity of, and their right to, an education, basically due to economic and socio-emotional problems.
Given this reality we decided to help these children overcome their learning difficulties. At the beginning, a support program was implemented at the Children’s Centre, which was very successful, but we did not have adequate space to further develop the project, so we decided to look at other possibilities. The thought was at the time, “if it´s for us then it´ll come about”, and so it happened. After the publication of an article written by our promoter in a newsletter to all our benefactors, a couple from Australia responded by offering us the funding for this new project. We started construction in 2006, and opened in 2007, with the presence of Australian sponsors, Geoff and Clare Loudon.
Our educational recovery programme has been very successful for many children, but faced with a growing demand to accept more children with learning difficulties, in 2017, we were able to buy, with the support of the “Old Dart Foundation”, an adjacent plot of land and expand the infrastructure with more classrooms, offices for therapies, kitchen and auditorium for large groups.
We also have a group of “special needs” youth who come to participate in our workshops in order to learn other skills that will help them, in some cases, earn a living later on. They not only have the opportunity to develop their manual skills and dexterity, but at the same time they can develop their social skills now that they have more contact with other people with whom they can talk and interact. It is important for us also that we are registered with CONADIS, a governmental institution in favor of people with disabilities, in order to protect the human rights of these youth.
The Educational Reality:
Quality education is one of the fundamental rights that many children and teenagers have been denied. The education system is in crisis. UNICEF describes it as “Alarming”. According to the National Agreement, 6% of the GDP must be invested in education, but currently only 4% is invested, and that is why we have schools with crumbling infrastructure, classrooms of forty or more students, teachers with little training, and added to that, the mismanagement of behavioral problems, and malnutrition, does not allow children to develop their intellectual potential.
There is a close relationship between poverty, violence and school failure. The children we receive have serious learning difficulties, and for this reason they repeat their grades constantly.
Our first premise is recognizing that the children have skills, especially a high practical intelligence that allows them to survive in a hostile environment. We value their sense of solidarity, while we helping them to grow in their self-esteem, and offering innovative educational methods, so that they can discover that they can learn and, hence, recover their confidence. They are tenacious in achieving their goals.