August 03, 2016
When the International Federation of Fe y Alegría first launched the Friends of Fe y Alegría in the United States initiative two years ago—together with MAGIS Americas—it was clear that one of the primary strategies for involving U.S.-based individuals and institutions in the mission and work of Fe y Alegría would be securing individual and institutional support for Fe y Alegría projects across Latin America and the Caribbean. And while the strategies implemented by the Friends of Fe y Alegría team over the last two years have developed beyond financial support, this initial goal has slowly come into fruition over the past several months.
To date, Friends of Fe y Alegría is actively financing five (5) projects in Venezuela and, more excitingly, recently completed its first two projects with Fe y Alegría Bolivia and Fe y Alegría Peru, countries that are celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 2016.
In Peru, Friends of Fe y Alegría financing supported Fe y Alegría Peru’s “Strengthening our Identity in Diversity” project. The project, part of the Fe y Alegría No. 44 Rural Program, seeks to assist children in developing artistic and cultural skills (poetry, storytelling, etc.), thus strengthening their cultural identity (Quispicanchi is a multicultural and multilingual province). Through this project, students—along with mothers and fathers—wrote and collected stories, poetry and ancient songs from their local communities and public institutions, allowing for the promotion of localized intercultural bilingual education. The resulting intercultural bilingual education aims to offer children opportunities and spaces where they can develop successful learning in both Quechua and Spanish, thus strengthening teaching processes in the classroom and ensuring children develop bilingual communication skills.
Support from Friends of Fe y Alegría ensured that the stories, poems and songs collected during the 2014-2015 school year could be consolidated and printed, thus emboldening children to continue to tell their own experiences through stories and poems and motivating the entire educational community to continue valuing and collecting these experiences.
As of May 2016, 2,503 children, 1,236 parents and 152 teachers in 23 rural schools have benefitted as a result of this project.
In Bolivia, Friends of Fe y Alegría support was directed towards the Fe y Alegría San Juan School, a boarding schooling model implemented to address the lack of education opportunities for families and communities in rural areas. The school annually hosts 82 students—between 8 and 18-years-old—for 10 months out of the year and provides both formal and non-formal primary and secondary education opportunities.
This project has significantly contributed to improving the living conditions of the children and adolescents living at Fe y Alegría San Juan, through the replacement of materials in bedrooms, bathrooms and classrooms, which are subject to intensive use throughout the school year and as a result need to be periodically replaced.
The community of students, educators and families who make up Fe y Alegría San Juan have been strengthened and comforted by the solidarity of the contributions received through this project; and as this project has met the primary needs of the school, Fe y Alegría San Juan is able to continually offer a community-based educational proposal that allows rural children and adolescents to exercise their right to receive an inclusive, quality education.
“… [the project] has really solved the needs we had at our school … and for each of us, our families and for the good of the country,” said Lin Arroyo, a student at Fe y Alegría San Juan.
Over the coming months the Friends of Fe y Alegría team plans on launching new features and tools for strengthening its community-giving platform.