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Shelby Fallon's Fundraiser:

AguaFria Bottle Classroom

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BENEFITING:

Shelby Fallon

THE STORY:

The community of Agua Fria lies 1.5 km
outside of the town of Joateca, in the
municipality of Morazán in the mountainous
area of North Eastern El Salvador on the
border with Honduras. The current school at
Agua Fria, Joateca Morazán contains grade
levels kindergarten through 6th grade. The
children that go to this school come from
Agua Fria as well as its surrounding
communities of Agua Caliente, Coquinka,
Estanzuela and Ocote Seco. Afterwards, to
continue their studies, the children at the
school must go to the town for grades 7
through 12th. Unfortunately, many students
do not take the next step and go to town to
continue their studies because of the
discrimination that they experience and the
distance to the town from which they live.
The children that come to the middle school
in the town from the townships generally
come from families with fewer resources thus
they frequently experience discrimination
from the children who have grown up in the
town. Many children in Agua Fria who
graduate from the 6th grade, rather than
ending their academic careers, chose to
retake the 6th grade in Agua Fria as to avoid
going to school in the town which is neither
fair nor sustainable.
The second reason why children in Agua Fria
do not continue their studies in town after
they graduate the 6th grade is the distance
from which they live to the town. From the
school in Agua Fria to the town´s school is it
approximately 1.5 km. This distance does
not demonstrate that various children live up
to 5 km away from the school in Agua Fria in
the opposite direction of the town. All in all,
the walking distance one way to school for
these children is 6.5 km Also, it is important
to take into account that middle school is in
the afternoon, the children walk to school
around 12 p.m. but don´t get let out until 5
p.m. This poses a very dangerous scenario
during the rainy season when there are
downpours anywhere from 1pm and later and
that it gets dark around 630pm. Many
parents don´t feel comfortable letting their
children walk alone or even in groups at this
hour.

In a recent study of the education levels of
457 adults in the communities of Agua Fria,
Estanzuelas, Agua Caliente,Coquinka, and
Ocoto Seco ( those communities that send
their youth to the school at Agua Fria) it was
found that roughly only 20% have a middle
school education or higher. Of these 457
people interviewed 24% are illiterate. Many of
these adults maintain their families through
farming corn and beans, and most don´t
have a consistent form of income. Thus, to
break this cycle of poverty, it is imperative to
address the growing youth population and to
support their educational development.
Specifically, it has been found through these
same interviews that many of these adults
don´t plan on sending their children to
school beyond the 6th grade due to distance
and discrimination: the closest middle school
that exists for these communities is in town.
As the Ministry of Education of El Salvador
has very little funding to build new
classrooms, in order to provide a middle
school for the youth of these communities, it
is necessary to look for alternative resources.
Thus. the idea of the bottle school came
about; not only will it provide a less
expensive way to construct a classroom but it
will also teach the children and community
members about waste management. The idea
has been approved by the Ministry of
Education and they have agreed to pay
overtime to the school director to teach
middle school in the afternoon.

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