Friday, November 03, 2006

Vehicle Donation for FEISA's Mobile Toy Library

There has been great excitement in October with the purchase of our own vehicle for the Toy Library and our work amongst indigenous Indians in the remote Chaco region (photo 1). It follows a year of intense fundraising by adults and children from churches and schools all over the UK, inspired and coordinated by Ann Varley from St Peter's Church, Oundle. We definitely felt it was heaven sent as it is perfectly equipped for every aspect of our work.

The aim of the Toy Library is to provide children from poor schools and neighbourhoods with the opportunity to learn through play (photo 2). This means transporting the games and toys all over the city (photo 3) as well as bringing the children to the Play Scheme if they live too far away (photo 4). For children who spend their days washing windscreens on the street corner to feed their family, this is often their only escape and education. One such child who attended the scheme asked us, "Why are you so kind to children?" The love and personal attention they receive is new to many of them.

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been involved in this immense undertaking. You cannot imagine the joy that the play scheme brings to these children. The vehicle has both facilitated our work and enabled us to extend it.

"God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November News 2006

Degree Course Application

Thank you so much for your prayers. Every aspect of our application has now been accepted by the Universities' Council and we are at the final hurdle - an inspection of the premises. We have been told to start promoting the degree course for next year which is a very positive sign.

Please pray that the inspection would take place quickly and give us the final seal of approval we need.

Visit to Yatnata Community

On November 18th, Sam makes her final visit to the indigenous community of Yatnata where we hope to collect traditional Enxet songs, stories and games from the community to incorporate into their preschool programme next year.

The Paraguayan Ministry of Education is now interested in our work amongst the Indians. They have invited FEISA to apply for government funds to set up a contextualized Toy Library in Yatnata. They would like to monitor our work and learn from us. There is nothing like filling in a government application to test your patience to the limit! We wait to see if our project is approved.

Please pray that the community would bring plenty of ideas to share and that the trip would be a positive experience for everyone, including the Ministry of Education who have asked to accompany us!

Publicity and Promotion

Please pray for Rup has he prepares the budget for next year and coordinates all the publicity and promotion for FEISA for 2007. We need to be attracting 25 students for the teaching diploma course and 20 for the degree course.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Paul Young and Ronan Keating in Paraguay

If you’re anything like us you’re thinking, “Sure, via satellite!” However, on 21st of September they really were in Paraguay with other well known international singers to participate in a concert called “Music against Hunger” (Musica vs Hambre).

Organised by the First Lady of Paraguay in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the aim was to "raise awareness of poverty and hunger in Paraguay and money to finance sustainable projects designed to help small-scale farmers produce more food for their families and communities". It was totally ground breaking, being the first concert of its type in a developing country.

It was a spectacular event with over 70 Paraguayan musicians forming the orchestra and first rate artists from the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Israel and Italy. The Paraguayans (not renowned for their organisational skills!) excelled themselves and put on a concert that easily rivalled Live Aid. People were even given free Paraguayan flags and plastic fluorescent rods to wave around enthusiastically! We wait to see how the money is spent and the impact it makes on some of the 32% of Paraguayans who live below the poverty line.

I know Paul Young is not Bono and U2 but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Toy Library goes to Argentina

We were very excited though rather daunted to be invited to do a workshop on the Toy Library at the ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) conference in Santa Fe, Argentina from 7th-10th September.

Four of us went - Fiona, Ana, Samantha and Noemi.(Photo 1) We arrived with furry teeth in a rather dishevelled state on Friday morning after a 14 hour overnight bus journey with lots of loud snoring and very little sleep. Travelling on a bus with 8 suitcases full of toys is quite a challenge!

Our 2 workshops were well received and it was great fun to watch the Director of ACSI Latin America (photo 2) and participating teachers (photo 3) return to their childhood days and play enthusiastically in the Toy Library. The difficult part was removing them! Many said they hoped to start a Toy Library in their school.

We even had time to do some sightseeing along the beautiful river front of Santa Fe before our 14 hour bus journey back to Asuncion. (Photo 4)

We had many hair-raising moments with power cuts, broken powerpoint projectors and technical hiccups but we experienced the Lord´s faithfulness in a wonderful way. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, September 04, 2006

General News August 2006

We had a relaxing holiday in stunning Provence with Rup´s family in July and even managed to squeeze a few days in England to enjoy time with Sam´s family and the heat wave!

Degree Course application.

Our degree course has finally been accepted by the Evangelical University and is currently with the Ministry of Education and Universities´ Council awaiting their approval.
Please pray for a rapid decision that would enable us to promote the course this year and open it next March.

The Ministry of Education has introduced a new Early Years curriculum and in July FEISA was selected to pilot the new teacher training programme. FEISA was chosen because, according to the Head of Early Years Education at the Ministry, it is ”the best Early Years teacher training college in Paraguay.” Although this is a great privilege for us, it also presents a huge challenge. Many of our subjects have to be changed or adapted. Teachers are having to rewrite their curriculum.

Please pray for the Head, Estela, and the Academic Coordinator, Gloria, as they co-ordinate these sudden changes and for wisdom for the teachers to know how best to restructure their courses in the light of the new requirements..


FEISA needs a new librarian but trained librarians are in very short supply.
Please pray for the right person to be found.

The Toy Library goes to Argentina.

Following on the success of our Toy Library workshop at the Association of Christian Schools conference in Asuncion in May, we’ve been asked to do the same in Argentina. This is an honour and a challenge. We don’t know the teachers and need wisdom to pitch the presentation accurately.

Pray for the preparation, safe travel and presentation on the 8th and 9th September of teachers Ana, Noemi, Samantha and Fiona.

The Yatnata Preschool Training Project

This continues to go well, with Indian teacher Esteban implementing the new teaching routine, strategies and resources. The Indian mothers are helping faithfully. Bible stories in their own language will be introduced this month.
Please pray for the translation of these and the next training visit on 22nd and 23rd September of teachers Marisol, Noemi and Susana.

Third Year Students Visit to Chaco

Our Third Year students go on their visit to Indian schools from 25th-27th September. They will be preparing games and activities for the indigenous children in Yatnata.
Please pray for Ana and Samantha as they lead the group and that the students will be impacted by the needs they see in these marginalized areas and made aware of how much they can contribute.

Publicity and promotion for 2007

This month the Administration team begins the publicity campaign to attract next year’s students. Ana Demestri visits schools to promote interest in FEISA.
Pray for Rup as he coordinates all this and that God will use Ana´s presentations to attract the right students to the college.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support

Rup and Sam