About the project
Arriba was founded in May 2010 to support the comprehensive education of Ararca’s children, as a way of addressing poverty. The foundation received permission from the school principal to establish and run a school library and playroom with educational toys and activities for 100 primary school students. After a year of working with 100 primary school students, the teachers and school principal asked Arriba to extend the program to high school students. Since they did not have the personnel, they trained the teachers, provided the materials, and coached them as they learned to hold workshops and activities themselves.
Ararca is an isolated Afro descendant community in Barú Island, Colombia. Ararca is the smallest and the first of three small towns you encounter as you cross the bridge into the island of Barú from the city of Cartagena, Colombia. A village of 1,500 inhabitants. Due to centuries of isolation, there is a lack of interest in reading and not much vision for education as an opportunity for progress. Government services are scarce. Therefore, literacy and cultural levels are dismal. The employment and income expectations are equally low.
How we help
Mona began funding Arriba in 2021 by providing full operational support of $6,000USD/year. The library is run by Dionisia, their librarian-educator. During the 2020 lockdown imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Dionisia took the time to visit homes door to door and prepared a listing of the 90 most vulnerable families in Ararca that don’t get unemployment benefits.
November 2020 they received permission to open the library again with safety and social distancing restrictions in place.
The library environment is truly an inspiring, cheerful, stimulating, and peaceful place as no other in their little town. The children draw and paint, use playdough, work with legos and various mechanical toys, do puzzles, use memory games and educational lottos, and have access to many other educational toys and experiences. They also have reading and comprehension practice, put on plays, receive school reinforcement, and participate in a variety of workshops.
Several students who for different reasons had a very hard time learning to read have received personal tutoring from the librarian and have been able to overcome their difficulties, which in turn also inspired in them confidence and joy.
2021 Project Goals
Serve 300 Primary and high school students and 40 preschoolers
Train 20 teachers