Slow progress

“No, the school is not on the government’s budget for this year. Maybe for 2015/2016. It isn’t certain yet because there are many schools that ask for money”

“No, not all our teachers get paid: some are paid out of the school fees. We could also buy teaching materials from that money, which should actually be bought by the government.

“Yes, we have all necessary permits, so building could start”.

“Yes, the government agreed to our plans, and we can change them without problems. The community had to pay €150 to submit those plans. You could buy 19 school desks for that amount of money.”

“We will build semi-permanent buildings on a spot where we want to build permanent class rooms in the future”

“The semi-permanent building has a concrete foundation and floor; essential to prevent jiggers.

“The buildings will last at least 10 years . The cement foundation will last longer, in 10 years’ time the new class rooms can be built on the same spot”.

Head teacher Eucbeth speaks enthusiastically and with conviction about the plans that become increasingly real. And while the plans become more real it becomes clear how hard the school board and the community members have to struggle to keep the government to its promises. If we thought the government bought the building site, in reality it’s the community that had to reach deep into its pockets.

It’s very funny: every child has the right to get primary education. The government makes teaching materials available. No, not ALL teaching materials, but part of them.  And everything else has to be paid by the parents.

We notice the pressure on teachers and parents to make their children’s education possible. A child’s right to education…

This situation is a great stimulation for us to continue despite the many delaying circumstances.

There still are a few essential things to handle before the first dig. One of them is signing the ‘memorandum of understanding’. And boy, wouldn’t it be great if the dig would start soon: before the rainy season. Providing a safe school building for the youngest ones, wíth school benches to sit on, wíth teaching materials and wíth a pencil and notebook for every child.

Our next meeting is in 2 weeks’time: at the meeting we want to make contact with the Nijenoord school in Wageningen so that both head teachers can talk to each other.