LA ESPERANZA SCHOOL
La Esperanza School, Vergara, Colombia
This development started in November 2008 and opened in January 2010, benefitting 248 children and 15 teachers.
The previous school buildings were so badly damaged by earthquake that most of the structures were demolished to make way for the new "seismically approved" facilities. One of the first challenges was to ensure clean water and safe electricity supplies, but now the school, which is perched on top of a mountain in a remote rural area some 238 kms (147 miles) away from Bogota, proudly boasts 7 classrooms, 4 laboratories, a cafeteria, a library and a playground.
A new child nutrition programme has been introduced to ensure all children can enjoy nutritious meals and following the success of their pilot scheme at Anatoli School, Intel have donated Casebook laptops for the children here. The community have linked with Bogota University to introduce a “Tele-Medicine” scheme enabling remote diagnosis of illnesses in Vergara by specialists in Bogota. The scheme has been so successful that Bogota University has provided 2 full time GP’s plus all equipment and medicines to enable treatment as well as diagnosis, potentially saving four journeys of 112 kms (69 miles) to Bogota for sick people within the community.
The Colombian Minister of Education attended the official opening of the school and declared that rural schools built to this model were “A true solution for peace in Colombia” enabling children to seek an education rather than becoming involved in the drugs and violence so rife in the regions.
The municipality of Vergara is 112 kms (69 miles) north of Bogotá with a population of 15.400 of which 89% live in rural areas. La Esperanza School is situated 1,450 feet above sea level in the district of Chonte Grande with a population of 1.120 people.
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