Boarding school in Colombia needs help!
Just miles from Colombia’s Caribbean coast lays a small, indigenous Wayúu community by the name of Aremasain. The Wayúu in Aremasain live in extreme poverty and lack basic access to water, sanitation, and sometimes even education. Unfortunately Aremasain is only a microcosm of La Guajira, the department that houses the small community. In fact, only 16.3% of the rural population in La Guajira has access to clean water and only 4% have access to proper sanitation.
Despite the desperation which exists in Aremasain and La Guajira as a whole, a glimmer of hope exists in the indigenous boarding school of San Antonio de Aremasain. The boarding school consists of over 1,300 students and 200 staff members. The students, 97% of which are indigenous, range from kindergarten to 8th grade, and study subjects such as Spanish, Wayuunaiki, English, science, computer science, agriculture, and business administration. In a region where poverty is the norm, and education leaves much to be desired, it is extraordinary to see San Antonio de Aremasain provide education, food, and shelter, to over 1,300 children. However, San Antonio de Aremasain is not without its own problems. The school receives funding from Colombia’s Department of Education and the Catholic Church and often operates on a shoestring budget. For example, in 2010 the school had to close its doors and send the children back home due to a shortage of food.
Although San Antonio de Aremasain was reopened several weeks later, the school is once again in dire straits due to the impairment of two windmills. The windmills are installed on two wells (one sweet water well and one salt water well) which provided water to the 1,500 students and staff of San Antonio de Aremasain. Both windmills have been broken for one year and have left the staff scrambling for other options. The school now has to order water truck deliveries from Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, which is 20km away. This temporary solution is both expensive and insufficient for the 1,500 members of San Antonio de Aremasain.
In the coming weeks, Aguayuda’s onsite Colombian team together with the maintenance staff of San Antonio de Aremasain will remove the two inoperable windmills. Thanks to the generosity of the international oil company Chevron, Aguayuda has received a working windmill, which we will install to pump water from the sweet water well at Aremasain’s boarding school. We now need to raise $5,000 to pay for the cost of replacing the old windmill at the sweet water well with the new windmill, which was donated by Chevron. With your help, we can provide a consistent supply of clean water and education to the 1,500 students and staff members at San Antonio de Aremasain, while simultaneously allowing school officials to allocate water truck funds to more pressing needs and the education of the students. To donate to the Aremasain project, please click here.