Nikolaus Moser, steward of the PATRIZIA School Sondoveni
PATRIZIA School Sondoveni, Peru
Sondoveni is a village with around 80 families. It lies in the middle of the rainforest of the South American state, about four hours away from the capital Lima. The last two hours of which on unpaved roads through the jungle. There is a great shortage of schools in the rainforest in particular – a problem that also has other implications: more than 1.6 million Peruvian children under the age of 14 work and attend school only to a limited extent or not at all.
The new secondary school enables children from the surrounding villages to go to school and quickly was able to procure a teacher who teaches all subjects – from biology and mathematics to agriculture. This is a huge gain for the nearly inaccessible region, which teachers have so far shunned. But the new school building is persuasive, even without electricity and running water: In addition to the classroom, it includes a divisible multi-purpose room, a library area, toilets and showers, as well as accommodations for the teacher.
Education is the key to a better future in Peru
The PATRIZIA School Sondoveni lays the foundation for a path out of poverty for children. Education is crucial for escaping hunger and hopelessness and leading a self-determined life, even in the remotest regions of the world.
Juan´s tale of happiness
Juan´s parents are illiterate like most people here. That’s why he pays very good attention during class at PATRIZIA School Sondoveni. He does not only do it for himself: he has already begun teaching his parents, who are field workers, how to write. He wants to teach them everything he learns and hopes to find a way out of poverty for his family. Since Juan is very resourceful, he will surely succeed – thanks to the school that teaches not only him, but also his family.
Education in the rain forest
The PATRIZIA School Sondoveni is our first project in Latin America – located in the middle of the Peruvian rain forest. We built the secondary school on a small plateau above the indigene village Sondoveni in 2014. Students of the Universities of Stuttgart and Lima joined forces with our local partner Creciendo and made this project come to life. Today, we are tackling the current challenges at the school and will expand it together with our new CSR partner APOprojekt. Workshops with the pupils, teachers, parents, the indigene village community of the Asháninka as well as the district’s mayor help us identify the specific needs of the school. At the same time, they are a means to raise awareness in the community for the importance of education.
All 34 current pupils of the school are from Sondoveni, a village with about 50 indigenous families. They belong to the Asháninka – the biggest ethnic group in the Peruvian rain forests of the Amazon counting about 50.000 people. Nearly all of them are simple farmers and live on coffee cultivation. Sondoveni looks different from European villages with their neatly organized rows of houses and a village core. Here, the village has no core but single shacks were built around the various fields. The area’s beauty is breathtaking, the living conditions simple. Children usually help their parents with field work from around 13 years of age.
This is exactly where we start in our workshops, in order to further raise awareness for education. We show the parents and villagers their children’s opportunities following a school education. And they educate us on how they are being perceived as Asháninka and what they desire for their school and community. Here we learn that they feel their needs are often ignored by the state, due to the great physical, social and cultural distance from the capital, Lima. But they do not want to live in material and educational poverty.
The PATRIZIA School Sondoveni is a public school that consists of three classrooms for five classes. The participants at the workshop wish for an extension by two new classrooms in order to offer each class a separate room and also accommodate additional pupils. We also believe this to be necessary. Through this expansion we expect a strong pull effect for the school. With a better infrastructure and higher capacity, the secondary school can also educate pupils from neighbouring villages.
Up until now the teaching staff is accommodated in a very simple room in the village that is also being used for storage. A renovation of the housing or a new building for the teachers can ameliorate their working conditions. This can lead to more motivated colleagues that will excitedly educate the young people. Currently, all five teachers at the school are provided by the state and do not originate from the region. In order to preserve the cultural heritage worth protecting of the natives, the school would like to attract indigene teachers in the future.
Currently, the school is not connected to the water grid. The building is being supplied with water via a big rain water barrel. As long as this tank is above ground, there is a risk that bacteria will multiply there. We are planning with APOprojekt to put the rain water barrel in an underground cistern equipped with a filter system. The PATRIZIA School Sondoveni will then be able to use the rain water from the entire roof area.
Support from the community
Lizeth Monica Chuquimia Velasquez, the mayor of Rio Negro is participating in the workshop and contributes a lot of knowledge. Her deputy, too, is an Asháninka. Together they try to advance improvements in the entire region. She will address the topics discussed in the workshop as well as the connection to the water grid on a municipal level.
Gina Duarte de Pezet, the founder of the aid organization Creciendo, advocates locally for the needs of the school. As the initiator of the PATRIZIA School Sondoveni, the organization has been an important intermediary for us from the very beginning. They regularly visit the school and are involved in many processes. Together we can push important matters forward faster.
Sondoveni is one of seven villages near Rio Negro that Creciendo is supporting – none of the communities have a secondary school. Thus, the expansion of the school is important to all seven villages: In the future, even more children will be able to deepen their education here.
Our new partner APOprojekt will plan, execute and finance the school extension in close cooperation with us. The company is specialized on tenant fit-out and has been engaged in our Sponsor Circle for several years now. Their involvement as a CSR partner in this project will be even higher: APOprojekt will not only cover the costs of the school expansion, but will also support with employee man power and know-how during construction.