At the end of this blog post I am going to ask you to donate to my classroom. But before I do, I want to explain to you why it is that I need this donation. I have explained what I am doing in Honduras in many capacities, but I want to tell you more about how things work at my new school.
San Jeronimo Bilingual School was founded in 2004 with the help of some Americans (the founders of BECA) to provide low-cost bilingual education to some of the poorest parts of Honduras. With the help of some local leaders and land owners the school was built about a 20 minute walk from the main square in a town called Cofradía. SJBS in conjunction with BECA wishes to provide a high-quality, low-cost education to Hondurans in hopes that they will continue their education and become contributing professionals in a country desperately in need of highly skilled citizens.
San Jeronimo Bilingual School is a separate organization from BECA (Bilingual Education for Central America). SJBS is directed by a parents association, elected from the families who attend SJBS. Many of these families are part of the wealthier population in Cofradía and are in charge of making any decision related to the finances of the school. They approve new construction efforts (they are currently building more classrooms and just finished a new amphitheater), they determine the salaries of full time Honduran faculty and staff, and liaise between BECA and the Honduran Ministry of Education. Additionally, this board of directors, or La Junta as they are called here, determine the tuition per year and monthly payment schedules of all students.
BECA contributes the teachers and provides scholarships to students who cannot otherwise afford to attend a bilingual school. This is what separates SJBS from other bilingual school sin Honduras. In most bilingual schools fewer than 10% of the students are admitted on scholarship and tuition is close to $2400 a year. Considering the average salary of a Honduran is $300 a month, this is a near impossible feat for poor families. This cost does not include the transportation necessary to even attend these schools. The flip-side to all of this is that SJBS has over 35% of students here on scholarship, most of whom pay absolutely nothing to attend (they earn tuition is other ways) and SJBS’s annual tuition is only about $300 a year. With BECA’s help, SJBS can continue to function in this manner, and function successfully.
However, we are still in Honduras and money is still tight regardless of the financial support of private donors, the parents association and BECA. This is where you come in.
SJBS needs over 50 desks for the upcoming school year, which starts in 2 weeks. SJBS cannot afford all of these desks so I have stepped in to help with this matter. My classroom is one of those classrooms that needs new desks, but I have a better idea: I want tables. Tables are better for group learning, cheaper than desks, and generally last longer. But you may be saying, “Josh, there is no way you have 50 students in your class, who else needs desks?” The 6th grade class also needs desks, but is opting for tables. This would allow us to use the available desks for the middle school classes and not need to replace anything.
One of the scholarship fathers is someone who does a lot of manual labor for the school and has built tables and chairs for SJBS in the past. He has quoted us at $30 a table (including labor). We need 12 tables in all bringing the total to $360. 360 DOLLARS! That’s all it will cost to provide a necessary item for our school. SJBS has agreed to purchase the chairs so all I need to do is find the money for tables.
BECA is currently running their back-to-school fundraiser and I am asking you to help my classroom get tables by donating in this drive. Yes, $360 will purchase tables for my classroom, but $500 can help send a student to school. By donating to my classroom or to the 6th grade classroom (Ms. Laurel Deeter) you will be helping my students succeed. So please take just a few minutes to help my class purchase tables. You can sponsor a table for just $30 or half a table for $15 and make all the difference in the lives of 25 students who can speak English better than most 10 year olds I know. Follow this link and click on the 2010 BECA Classroom Sponsors icon that takes up the whole screen. I only have 2 weeks to raise the money, please help me out.