In the last five years, Dos Rios Elementary, a Greeley-Evans School, has been providing supplies for students and teachers in four schools in Tela, Honduras. In summer 2017, a group of teachers and one Rotarian left for Honduras to work in the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens and to assist local workers with classroom modifications. The classroom addition was made possible through funds provided by members of the Greeley Centennial Rotary, Craig Rotary and the Greeley After Hours Rotary Clubs. The Josefa Lastiri Morazan School is located adjacent to the botanical garden. This school serves 75 students grades K-5 and 45 secondary students grades 6-9 on weekends. The second school is Escuela Lempira, located about a 30 minutes hike from the botanical garden. This school serves 45 students grades K-5. The third school in our project is Escuela Jose Trinidad Cabañas located about 25 minutes from the botanical garden. This school serves 45 students grades K-5. The fourth school is the Escuela Santos Juan Moncada that serves 35 students grades k-5.
While visiting with the local people during the 2017 trip, the Rotarian and teachers recognized that access to technology and the internet within the botanical garden schools was virtually impossible. Another trip to Honduras by Rotarians is scheduled for summer 2019. The purpose of this trip is to continue to develop relationships with local Honduran Rotarians and to conduct a needs assessment for the future addition of technology and internet access for students and local families within the botanical garden. This is a significant need for the students and families in the region to help provide educational access and equity in the 21st Century.
On June 27, 2016, the United Nations made a series of statements that collectively describe internet access as a basic human right (Retrieved from https://www.article19.org/data/files/Internet_Statement_Adopted.pdf). While this statement may be perceived as political, it signifies broad acknowledgement of the value of technology and internet access regarding issues of educational equity. Three of the more general and symbolic ideas are found below:
The General Assembly condemns, unequivocally, measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law and calls on all States to refrain from and cease such measures;
The General Assembly calls upon all States to consider formulating, through transparent and inclusive processes with all stakeholders, and adopting national Internet-related public policies that have the objective of universal access and enjoyment of human rights at their core;
The General Assembly decides to continue its consideration of the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet and other information and communication technology, as well as of how the Internet can be an important tool for fostering citizen and civil society participation, for the realization of development in every community and for exercising human rights, in accordance with its programme of work.
The purpose of these requested grant funds is to make structural improvements to a modest educational building on the site of the centrally located Josefa Lastiri Morazan School to provide a technology center and to securely house the technology equipment. This will complement a vocational sewing center, which was built in spring 2019 with funds from Rotarians and SSKIDS (Simply Suppers for Kids In Desperate Situations). A technology center will provide opportunities to empower families to improve educational opportunities, access information, and collaboratively interact with others around the world. Having the proper facilities, equipment, and internet access will be essential to the sustainability of this project. Additionally, the technology center will provide opportunities for teachers to centrally instruct students, community members, and parents and to enhance communication and collaboration with future projects.
We will also work on outreach with the Honduras Rotary clubs in Tela and La Ceiba to build future partnerships. A trip is planned for summer 2019. The intent is to make contact with the two Rotary clubs close to the schools in Honduras to foster relationships and ensure the sustainability of the vocational project.
At a minimum within the first year, the project will benefit about 200 students and 30 families in the area of Lancetilla Botanical Garden. Family and community members will also benefit by having shared use of the community resources for after-school events and community gatherings. This project will support added educational opportunities for approximately 80 students who are currently attending the botanical garden schools. The improved vocational facilities will provide a learning and working space. It will also establish a dynamic space for future vocational initiatives in these communities for years to come.
Dos Rios Elementary School, located in Evans, Colorado, initiated outreach efforts to the first school in the botanical gardens in 2013. This included sending medical supplies, school supplies, kitchen serving utensils, clothing and shoes. During the initial visit, two teachers from Dos Rios traveled to the schools to present the teachers and students with supplies and to engage the local community in a partnership. A needs assessment was also conducted at this time to evaluate future opportunities for improvement. Since that time, we have sent additional supplies (school supplies, clothing and shoes) each year. The Dos Rios staff has engaged the local parent and student community in fundraising efforts to ship three boxes of supplies annually (about 1,500 pounds of materials). We also sought to engage our Dos Rios learners to increase awareness for the needs of the Honduran schools and broaden our students' world view to be more globally minded about the needs of other children in the world. In June 2017, Dos Rios staff, which included a Greeley Centennial Rotarian, traveled together to the three schools to build a classroom addition to one of the schools, paint, and create a sustainable garden project to increase the nutritional content of their daily meals. In 2017-2018, additional Rotary projects in this area of Honduras have included furniture, clean stoves, electric and solar projects at all four schools.
As our local Rotary clubs have increased their awareness of the wants and needs of the Honduran schools, we have increased our collective interest in supporting our collaborative efforts to establish a working relationship with the local Honduras Rotary clubs for the future. Contact was made in spring 2018, thanks to the support of Jim Epstein. In 2018-2019, most recently Rotary project have included the creation of a vocational sewing center for school uniforms to provide opportunities for students to attend school as well as for parents and community members to learn a marketable skill.