|Children sponsored through Project Ecuador|
For some, that means doing resits. These children have not had any holidays, but have been attending extra classes for the past two months. They now have the chance to resit the subjects they failed to achieve 70% in last time around. If they pass, they will move up a year. If they fail they will repeat the year.
For others, it has meant looking for a place in a new school. Some primary schools only go up to year 7, while others continue to year 10. Pupils going into year 8 or year 11 have to find a place in a new school. For some it has been straightforward. They have been allocated a place in the secondary school nearest to them. Others have higher ambitions and seek places in the more highly rated schools in town. One fifteen year old (who is sponsored) came top in her year. She has dreams of becoming an English teacher, and wanted to go to the best school in town for her final 3 years of schooling. Despite her excellent grades, she was told there were no places available in all of the "good" schools. She was extremely disappointed. Finally, a friend told her that her cousin works in one of the schools, and that for a small fee they could get her a place...It´s not what you know, but who you know.
Some are facing huge life changes. At the beginning of the holidays a sixteen year old who is sponsored found herself a place in a new school to begin her final three years of study. She was looking forward to gaining an education and a way out of the poverty she and her 7 siblings live in. Now, she is pregnant and those dreams have come to an end. Her mother and step-father are unable to give her much support, as they still have so many small children of their own to raise. She will now have to transfer her ambitions to the child that is to be born.
Others are going through traumas and yet are finding the way through. Another sixteen year old failed the school year after her sister committed suicide. What a tragic time it has been for that family. Sonja (as we shall call her) lives with her grandmother, as she cannot live with her mother and stepfather. They have now moved to live with an uncle and cousins, and Sonja will be starting again in the school her cousins attend. We hope and pray she can find healing and the strength to move forward.
Then there are Juan and Mishel who have graduated from secondary school this year, and are looking for work and further education. They both come from extremely poor families and have done really well to get this far. We wish them well for the future.
Fifteen year old Carla has never had the chance to go to secondary school, and is so excited she now has a sponsor and is able to go. Undeterred by being put in a class with the 12 year olds, she is determined to make the most of this opportunity.
The government gives some uniform items and text books to the children at the start of each new school year. Rumours abound that the stationary lists are going to be more expensive to purchase this year due to recent rises in taxes. Nonetheless, the children are now eagerly discussing which school bag they want and hoping for a new, larger pair of shoes.
We, in Project Ecuador, are thankful for each sponsor who helps a child afford the items they need in order to study. Every year of study helps equip these youngsters for work and parenthood in the future. Thank you for being a part of changing lives.