Saturday, March 31, 2012

Supporting Education in Paraguay

In a previous post we mentioned the OpenOffice/LibreOffice guides that Rup had produced to support free, open source software in Latin America (link to guides on the side bar).

When Rup read that the Paraguayan Ministry of Education was planning to introduce computers in schools using open source software, he realised his guides may be useful to them. Aware that the government is beginning to train teachers in preparation for this, he sent the Ministry an email informing them of the link and free access to his resources. He was greatly surprised and encouraged to receive the following reply:

Dear Mr Rupert Parsons

Your ICT guides are extremely interesting, particularly as they provide a clear and easy introduction to people who are accessing these programmes for the first time. So with your permission, it would be an honour for us to use them in our next training session with teachers, which will be in March. Your resources will be a great help to the teachers.

Yours very gratefully

Director of Teacher Training for the Introduction of Information Technology in the Classroom,
Ministry of Education and Culture, Paraguay

God of Surprises

Last November Osvaldo and Maria Luisa's computer broke down irreparably and they did not have the funds to replace it. It is essential for their administration and communication with donors and the girls use it for their school work and writing to their sponsors. It is also vital for the monthly accounts which Maria Luisa produces with help from the girls Rupert trained.

In December a surprise donation from a friend arrived which was enough to buy not only a new computer but some much needed sandals and toiletries for the girls and cleaning materials for the home.

Osvaldo, Maria Luisa and the girls were overjoyed at God's generous provision, arriving at the perfect time, and the kindness of people in the UK who have never met them and yet have been moved to support them.

Special Educational Needs

State schools in Paraguay cannot afford educational games, readers or special needs teachers. This is a great challenge for educators here. If children cannot follow the pace of the teacher or access their "chalk and talk" methodology, they get left further and further behind until eventually they drop out of school.

Classroom in Quyquhó

Emotional trauma often inhibits learning and many of the children in the home and Feeding Programme were unable to read. This was also affecting their self esteem. Much of Sam's time in the home is dedicated to teaching literacy and maths in a loving, affirming environment. The children here are hungry to learn and this makes teaching a real joy. Since 2009 over 20 children are now reading, writing and improving their numeracy and it has been particularly encouraging to see the effects of this on their behaviour and confidence levels.

Marlene was Sam's first student

In December we were once again overwhelmed by a generous donation from another friend towards educational resources for Sam's work which enabled us to buy much needed text books, games and story books. The delight on the faces of the children says it all.