We’re on a mission to build one thousand schools
It has been estimated that one thousand communities in Honduras do not have access to an adequate school building.
Join us in changing that.
Isaias R. wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. in a hillside house where he lives with his parents and siblings. Rain or shine, he puts on his rubber boots in the dark and walks two hours down a muddy path to arrive at his school in El Progreso. If Isaias arrives by 6 a.m., he has enough time to change into his white and blue school uniform and review his notes. He puts on his eye glasses with strings tied to it and sits at the front of the class.
At the end of the school day, Isaias says goodbye to his classmates and examines the sky. A rainy afternoon means an even longer trek back home. For the average adult, the trek can easily take five hours. For Isaias, it takes two. Not having electricity or a reliable roof at his modest house makes it nearly impossible for Isaias to study in the evenings. He goes to bed early each night prepared for the next day’s trek back to school. He must arrive before the other 460 students so he can complete his homework under the dimly lit lightbulb of a quiet classroom.
In 2018, parents from the community contacted our organization. They didn’t have a middle school building in their neighborhood. After the 6th grade, Isaias and his classmates would have to travel elsewhere to attend 7th grade. In Honduras, obstacles like the lack of adequate facilities, expensive bus fees, limitations on the availability of spots, and gang violence keep the dropout rate high. In fact, 62% of the poorest quintile of children drop out of school by age 16 (EPDC, 2014). For children like Isaias, getting an education beyond the 6th grade is a monumental challenge.
Supporters of our organization heard about the school and raised funds back in the US. Parents and teachers united to mix cement and lay cinder blocks.
The 3-classroom middle school building is scheduled to be inaugurated in January, 2020.
We have completed 50 school construction projects and are working on 6 more towards our goal of building 1,000 schools. Each project costs approximately $30,000.
A THREE-WAY PARTNERSHIP
Our school builds involve a three-way partnership. Our organization provides the construction supplies and professional labor. The families in the communities provide approximately 4,000 hours of unskilled labor in the form of sweat equity. The local government provides heavy machinery, sand to mix cement, and the teachers.
The communities we work with participate in the planning and decision-making process from beginning to end. The community’s sense of buy-in, ownership, and pride for the project are important to help the project succeed in the long run.
All of our construction supplies are locally sourced. All of our projects involve support from the local government and businesses. All of our trained masons are hired from the local community. Each project creates jobs for up to ten local masons and welders.
In 2018, we began an impact evaluation study of the schools and communities we have worked with previously to assess the effectiveness of these projects. This summer (2019), the final impact report was completed. We are thrilled to share some key findings with you:
- School enrollment increased by 39.1% on average after the completion of a project
- The average number of classes cancelled due to rain or inadequate protection from weather dropped from 14 days per year to less than one day a year
- The average number of teachers per school increased from 6.5 to 8.5
- 99% of students reported they like the new classrooms
- 99% of parents were satisfied satisfied with the project
- 100% of directors were satisfied satisfied with the project
- 98% of teachers were satisfied with the project
- 97% of participants agreed that they were prouder of their school after the completion of the project
- 94% of participants agreed that they believe more in women’s capacity to contribute to projects
- 98% of teachers and directors agreed that the project helped them perform their jobs better