The EDVM association has also started a before-and-after school educational program, called La Escuelita, to help children and teenagers with their homework or subjects they are struggling to learn. There are currently 95 students enrolled in this educational center. All the children enrolled in this project come from the Magisterio/ Bosques del Progreso area known as “the dump” because the city dump used to be there. These boys and girls have 4 paid teachers and Beatriz Flores, a psychologist, working with them each morning or afternoon. They attend classes Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. They also get a hot meal every day, and sometimes this is the ONLY meal they eat during the course of the day. The educational programs will be expanded to include computer classes for teenagers once funding is obtained.
Ceci Somerville, one of the teachers, explains more:
“Working at La Escuelita we see children up to the age of 14 who cannot read or write, some who have never attended school due to particular circumstances, and some who a lot of times go without eating because their families simply cannot afford to buy food. La Escuelita is an education regularization project for children in the Magisterio/Bosques del Progreso area of Puerto Vallarta. We offer not only free reading/writing and math lessons to complement their formal education, but also nutritious meals from Monday to Friday. We found that in this area in particular, children are more likely to fall behind on their schooling. Most of the time their parents are not well educated themselves, meaning they cannot offer the support their children need with their homework or learning in general. This was the main reason for the setting up of La Escuelita, which literally means “little school,” a name the children use to refer to the project.
We started with 18 children and 1 teacher in October 2018; fast forward to February 2019, and we currently have close to 100 kids enrolled and 5 full-time and part-time teachers. The immense growth of La Escuelita has truly shown the incredibly eye opening need for this project in the area. The children we work with are generally from a very low socio-economic background; a lot of them live in cardboard houses or in very crowded conditions with their extended families, usually in a room in a house alongside other families. La Escuelita offers a place for these children to actually be children and feel safe, which is one of the biggest factors in children’s learning and exploring.
The ultimate aim from this project is to make sure their right to an education is being fulfilled. We believe that where they live, or how much their parents earn, should not be a factor in the quality of education these children receive.”