The paradox of progress is that sometimes, to move forward, you must first take a couple of steps backwards and then rebuild from there. In a small Andean community called Sihua, that is literally what is happening.
The Alma Foundation began its Sihua Primary School Expansion Project in 2012, with the goal of expanding the school from four grades with only one teacher to the full six grades of primary school with one teacher per grade. This year, we have accomplished that goal. Through a contract with the local branch of the Ministry of Education (UGEL- Calca) and the local municipality (Coya), and much coordination with the Sihua Parents’ Association, the Alma Foundation has secured six teachers and six grades in the Sihua Primary School #50743. The only problem is…
There is no school where the six grades can be taught!
Last year’s school expansion project in Sihua received a lot of attention from the local municipality. Due to the project’s success, the Mayor of the District of Coya decided to rebuild Sihua’s primary school to ensure that the students not only receive better quality instruction within their own community, but that they be instructed inside better quality classrooms. However, to build a new school, the original school had to be knocked down, leaving students and teachers in Sihua temporarily without one.
But don’t worry! Currently, the teachers are holding classes in seven houses (one house for each of the six grades plus one for pre-school) offered voluntarily by various community members while the teachers work with the UGEL and the Municipality of Coya to send temporary wooden classrooms up to the community. We expect the temporary classrooms to be in place by early April.
The all important backward steps of progress are being taken in Sihua. Though it is currently an inconvenience, it will all be worth it next year.