September 8, 2014 by Debra Gittler

«I’M CONVINCED»

Yesterday, Lindsay and I had the pleasure of visiting Grade 6 at the Academia Británica Cuscatleca, what we call the British School. (They don’t say sixth grade.)

First, we asked them what they knew about public schools in El Salvador.

“No resources.”

“No water.”

“They get food at school.”

And then one kid said: “They’re dangerous. Because of the gangs.” The room broke out in nervous titter.

“They’re dirty.” And when asked to elaborate, he said, “The materials are old. The classes are disorganized.”

And I was immediately impressed by the group. For their thoughtful responses, their eager participation, and their honest transparency. The differences made them uncomfortable. What they couldn’t quite understand, made them uncomfortable.

We told them about ConTextos work, showing them Yency’s video, and encouraging them to analyze what they sam.

“So, we’ve got 17 minutes left until your next class,” I said. “That’s 17 minutes to convince you that Grade 6 should select ConTextos’ as your year’s project.” I explained that they would have to set a goal to raise funds to support one or more schools. And they could choose the school site.

“What do I need to do to convince you? Or are you already convinced?”

Hands went up.

“I’m already convinced,” said Paula, “because I want other kids to be able to love learning as much as I do.”

“I’m convinced because I think all kids should have a nice school.”

“I’m convinced because before, I did something similar and worked at an orphanage. It feels good to help.”

“I’m convinced because there’s so much we can do.”

The hairs on my arms stood high as hands fluttered in the air. These young people, so committed to making their country better.

Grade 6 at the British School convinced me that change is possible.

Debra Gittler
Founder and Executive Director

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