Saturday, June 17, 2023

Our scholarship program and the Macedonia school problems.

A third of our scholarship students are in the upper grades of school.  But they have no good, consistent school to attend.  Many of the students are leaving school.  This is for three main reasons.  1) Problems with the school construction in Macedonia.  2) The need to provide for themselves and their family.  3) The need to be occupied with something.

It is the decision of the students to do what they must do.  We are supportive of their decisions.  We understand the pressures which they face.  We strongly encourage them to return to school when the construction of the Macedonian school is complete.

One of our Macedonia students.

When a student who has received a scholarship from a sponsor leaves school, we try to convince the student that this is only temporary.  The scholarship is then temporarily passed to a younger sibling or cousin studying in the village of La Libertad.  When the construction in Macedonia is finished and full-time school resumes, we hope they will return to school.

We encourage the sponsors to stay with their students (and the temporary alternate family member) until they return to school.

School Problems in Macedonia

The school in Macedonia is under construction.  Half of the classrooms were demolished in 2019.  The demolition and construction were supposed to start simultaneously, with the buildings finished in 2020.  The company then filed for bankruptcy.  Then Covid hit.  As of Spring 2022, no construction had started.  A lawsuit was brought by the people of Macedonia.  Our project helped with spreading the news in the Amazon with social media.

After much effort, construction on the school resumed in late 2022.

The village sign in the port of Macedonia.

During the construction, many students have school only two days a week.  Sometimes, due to lack of gasoline or teachers, not even that.  Many days, after waiting over 1 1/2 hours (sometimes in driving rain and always with biting insects), the school boat does not pick them up.  Our students are frustrated.

School shopping with two of our students.

The Need to Provide

Our students' families live in extreme poverty.  When one of our students works in Peru, there is one less child to feed and cloth.  At best, a working child provides money for the household to buy food, clothes, and other essential needs.

Many of our upper school students have gone to work in cultivation in Peru.  The money they earn goes a long way to provide the necessities they and their families must have.

Working in the cultivations of Peru.

The Need to be Occupied

They have little to do around the house on their non-school days (after fishing, collecting wood, or tending small cultivations).  

The parents have told us they don't want their children wandering around the village unoccupied, getting into trouble, hanging around older kids who are out of school, drinking, and smoking.

Our project does not want or encourage the students to work in Peru.  However, we do recognize the reality of their situation.

School Construction in Macedonia

These pictures are from the Spring of 2023.  The work has progressed further from what is shown.  The school is expected to be ready in early 2024, depending on the rain and the river level.  The building supplies cannot be transported if the river is too low.  When the rain is too heavy, work is suspended.

Work on the new school begins.

In the port of Macedonia in front of the new school.

The land is being cleared and prepared.

The beams are going up.

Thank you very much to our sponsors for this and previous years' scholarships and all our donors who have made our work possible!

Would you like to sponsor a student or help with another area of our programs?  If so, thank you!  Please follow the link below:


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