Little lives are being transformed daily at the Promised Land Preschool in Peru.
The preschool is in one of the poorest areas just outside of Chimbote, about 6 hours north of Lima. Women’s Global Connection helps trains its teachers and also provides classroom materials. Between 8 and 15 children (it varies daily), ages 4 and 5, attend this tiny, one-room school situated in the middle of one of the Peruvian desert’s poorest areas. It’s on the outskirts of Nuevo Chimbote, and the entire residential zone – resembling the colonies on the Mexico-U.S. border – lacks basic services such as running water. Homes consist of used plywood or crude bricks. Roofs are almost always made from large thatched grass mats since it rains less than three times a year.
Tanya is the primary teacher here, and she and her supervisor Angelita oversee regional teachers trained by WGC. Children play games on the playground (a sand-and-gravel lot), and colors and numbers are taught oftentimes in English. At Christmas, paint comes out for a fingerprint Christmas tree collective art project.
Angelita explains that the students represent a tiny slice of the overall preschool population in the area because most parents find it difficult and costly to send their kids because they must pay for their own school supplies and lunches. The government-sponsored school is run on a shoestring budget, with Tanya almost working for free. But you can see that money is no object in her care for the kids – they adore her and respond to the routines she lovingly sets up in the classroom. There seems to be a fun song for every transition – from cleaning up to eating lunch to washing their hands in the bowl of water serving as the “sink.” There is no running water in this unincorporated area of Peru.