For more than 10 years the Emmaus Piura school, which has been recognised by Peru’s Ministry of Education, has been welcoming children who don’t have access to the system of education.
We offer schooling for children aged 3-5.
Due to the school’s location in a rural area far from the city centre it has been of great use for the children of the La Campiña village in the district of Catacaos, Piura.
We try to improve our infrastructure year after year in order to provide the best possible care and education for the children.
Early years education for three, four and five year olds using an alternative curriculum, adapted to the context and educational goals for social change.
-Collaborative work with parents to ensure their active participation in: care and maintenance and six-monthly cleaning of the school; school support for children; improvement of infrastructure; procurement of educational materials.
-Coordination with local institutions (Ministry of Education, education region, Education Management Unit, district municipality, health centre, police) for the improvement of educational, health and safety, and environmental standards in the area.
-Promotion of local and international volunteer opportunities to foster the development of this school's educational project.
-Dissemination and communication of the initiative, which is of socio-educational interest.
-Networking with other schools in Bajo Piura (the southern district).
-Improvement of the school’s infrastructure.
-New plans for remote teaching, interactive tools and gamification.
-Planning and outreach actions to seek financial, human and material resources that ensure the appropriate running of the school and its services.
-The school team made up of a principal, three teachers, three assistants (in physical classes) a cleaner and a janitor.
-An educational management team consisting of three staff members (a manager, an educator and an educational coordinator) who are responsible for procuring resources and making relevant decisions to ensure the smooth running of the school. The educational coordinator (Verónica Palacios) is responsible for streamlining school administration and the link between the community and the school, among other tasks.
-Occasional local, national and international volunteers.
This is a joint project involving Emmaus Piura, the school parents, Emmaus Bougival and Emmaus Nanterre (France), Asociación Upasunqu (Spain), Emmaus International and Emmaus Americas.
Every year we try to improve our infrastructure and refurbish the school. We are gradually bringing in a computer room, we are looking into having a well-stocked library and also having a roof over our playground.
This small school is not only a social initiative, but also a learning community, where we offer quality education inspired by the values of the Emmaus movement to develop critical thinking, and the capacity to seek and propose solutions.
We have stuck to our purpose even during the Covid-19 pandemic. The school is still working during this academic year and has recreated ways of teaching and providing care to families, despite the restrictions of social distancing.
Firstly, remote education systems are being used. The teaching staff prepares education materials, sheets and workbooks for the girls and boys, in line with the official curriculum. The families pick up the materials every day, submit the work completely by the pupils and communicate their achievements and difficulties. This ensures the continuation of learning and evaluation.
Secondly, synchronous and asynchronous online classes are taught, using the scarce technology available to families (mostly mobile phones) and families receive support through applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and video calls.
The families are a key source of strength driving interest in education. We are proud to say that, in terms of education, these children have not suffered due to the pandemic.
Lastly, we are very grateful for the joint work of Águilas de Emaús and the teachers at the school.
We want our school to be able to meet its annual budgets with firm and sustained commitments from our partners over the next five years. We are asking for support and sustainable agreements, as the economic precariousness of the children's families prevents the school from being self-sustaining with its own funds.
We hope in time to improve our school, both in terms of infrastructure and our human and material resources, and to finish building the remaining school areas. We also need to improve the computer room, the games area, the roof the main courtyard, create a library and improve the facade.
At the educational level, there is a demand from the local population to provide primary education, so that children starting in pre-school can continue at the school. At the moment we are carrying out a study to see if we can do this, probably from 2021 onwards, but we need groups to support this initiative. This project requires a large investment.
As for the teaching staff, we are organising plans and programmes for continuous training and support in refresher and specialisation courses.
We are also hoping to acquire a van, in order to develop school activities that require travelling from La Campiña to the city or other surrounding villages.
Finally, Covid has taught us that we have to develop our ICT (information and communication technology) resources. Procurement of computer equipment, tablets for the children, improvement of the Wi-Fi network acquired, portable equipment support, etc.
Almost 940 children from La Campiña and other nearby villages have been taught at our school in recent years. The educational service has not closed once, not even during the peak of the Covid19 pandemic.
This educational service is outlined as creating equity, in terms of equal opportunities for these rural children; social justice for these families and their children who have an effective right to education and; effective educational quality through an alternative educational programme adapted to educational and social needs.
Important changes have been made to the infrastructure. Today the school has three standard classrooms, an audio-visual projection room, an art and natural sciences laboratory and a games library. The bathrooms have been improved and access to water has been secured. The classrooms are made of high-quality materials and suitable flooring. The playground has an asphalt surface.
School furniture has been improving every year. Projection and playback equipment and some basic desktop computers have also been purchased.
The APYMA (Parents’ Association) has been consolidated and has its own activity plan which it is very committed to the school, its maintenance and cleaning.
The school team has been very loyal. Julio and Verónica, the Principal and Educational Coordinator respectively, have been with us practically since the beginning of the project.
All the school classes were approved during the high-level educational inspection by the Educational Management Unit. The teaching, learning and assessment systems are recognised and endorsed by government bodies, families and society.
A 5-year longitudinal study demonstrated that 98% of our children were successful in primary education. This impact is very important because it indicates that our educational services effectively reduce the social exclusion gap between children in rural settings and children in the city.
Little by little our school has improved; we have acquired volunteers who support us with their time and dedication. Over the last eight years an average of 25 international volunteers have committed to this project and have participated in teaching these girls and boys. Some Spanish universities continue participating by encouraging international students to work at the school.
At a local level, the school has gained a lot of prestige. With the passing of time, we realise that families are increasingly happy to enrol their children at our school, but unfortunately we cannot help all the children because we lack teachers and classrooms.
The ongoing relationship with government agencies and other institutions to improve the socio-health conditions of La Campiña and be involved in educating children in rural zones, is creating social awareness of the segments of the population at social and educational risk and the capacity to respond in a co-responsible manner to this situation.
This initiative makes Emmaus’ way of being and acting real, specific and credible. It embodies the universal principle of Emmaus’ manifesto: serve first those who suffer most, remedy their suffering immediately and destroy the causes of it.
Furthermore, we make Emmaus’ approach credible, because we welcome and assist people, we guarantee rights, we denounce unfair systems, we offer relevant solutions, we listen to local communities and we commit to social change.
We encourage you to help us with this initiative. We need your hands, your emotional and active support. We need to feel that we are brothers and sisters and partners on this journey. We need to continue advancing and believing. We need you!
The sustainability of this educational project through the school is linked to being able to rely on partners with long-term commitments to this initiative.
As the school is a not-for-profit entity, which has been set up as a social initiative for poor families, the budgets each year will be enough if, and only if, we can rely on external economic support and material every year.
The growth of the school in developing new services requested by the local people (such as the request for primary education), which we are working on incorporating, will also depend on a group choosing to support this expansion of our educational project.
We also need the donation of a van for local and inter-provincial transport.