The district of Toche is located 36 miles from the nearest city of Ibague and situated atop the crater of Cerro Machin, a stratovolcano. This district protects about 80% of the existing wax palm, the national tree of Colombia. Due to its high-risk geological location, Toche is disqualified from receiving government aid.Between 1990 and 2010, the 50th front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia also known as "the FARC" controlled the area - as a result, residents of Toche lived in constant fear. The signing of the Peace Agreement Referendum in 2016 resulted in the retreat of the FARC from the area. Residents felt they could now live peacefully from three sources of income: livestock, agriculture and tourism.
Since 2016, Rotaract Clubs from Armenia, Ibague, and New Jersey have worked tirelessly in favor of the community of Toche Tolima, We have pushed through, many adversities to carry out conferences full of learning, joy, restoration and, most importantly, adaptation of some of its schools, with hopes of providing better quality of education.
There are a total of four schools in the district of Toche, typically students trek anywhere between 1 and 3 hours (one way) to get to class. The schools require reworking of the electrical system and some basic structural improvements. Most of the educational material is outdated and in poor condition. Our main objectives are to refurbish the schools, equip classrooms to allow for remote/synchronous learning, distribute 50 laptops, and 50 bicycles (to reduce transportation time to and from school). Secondly, we would like to provide school supply kits, hygiene products, and sustainable tourism capacitation workshops.
Our mission is to adapt the classrooms with decent and quality spaces to improve concentration and reduce distractions that may hinder a quality in their education.
Each school will have different play areas that will foster the development of social skills, emotional intelligence, sociability and other skills that will help forge their personality. Once these needs are met, children and the community will receive a more equitable education and create change in the community.
Our goal is to install audiovisual elements so that children and adults can get access to the internet, currently, they have an internet network provided by the mayor's office but they do not have the means to access it (computers). This is critical as education is moving to digital platforms around the world. The students of Toche need to have exposure to technology in order to prepare them for the transition to high school and beyond.
Once the above mentioned is done, the objective is to strengthen the community in environmental knowledge, self-sustainability, tourism and other areas that will help the people who live there to identify other alternatives to earn a living besides the war.
All funds will be clearly distributed in the broadly described, which will depend on a previous management as a quotation, feasibility of the road, purchase of elements, internal management of possible sponsorships, also meetings will be held in order to cover all the needs previously mentioned, in the same way different visits will be made to follow up, culminate, and implement new strategies.
The Rotaractors, and future alliances will be responsible for carrying out the activities in its different stages. A timeline can be outlined upon knowledge of available resources and funds.
To continue the project and ensure sustainability, we currently require the following funds:
Adaptation of Four Rural Schools (Including but not limited to Laptops, Chargers, Projectors, Speakers): $17,500
Purchase and Delivery of Fifty Bicycles + Safety Equipment: $14,000
Refurbishment of Four Rural Schools - Including but not limited to: Paint, Structural Work, Plumbing: $5,000
Purchase of School Supply Kits, Textbooks, etc.: $2,900