Jessica Boccardo

Jessica Boccardo (Supporting Kids in Peru): Jessica is originally from Argentina, where she obtained her BA in economics. In 2004, she came to the US to further her education. She completed a master’s degree in public policy in Georgetown University In 2006, with a concentration on international policy development. During her graduate studies Jessica worked as a research assistant for the School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP), a federally funded education voucher program for low-income families. At the time of her fellowship, Jessica was working in the Poverty Reduction Unit (PREM) at the World Bank. Her area of focus was trade diversification and growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.



En política, un absurdo no es un obstáculo

06 Jul

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I should tell more about our English classes. Two other volunteers and I started teaching English classes at a public school, el Indo-Americano. SKIP had committed itself to providing English classes in exchange of the use of the school facilities for mothers’ meetings and workshops on Saturdays. Three different courses, four days a week, ages 9 to 11.

After each class we felt as if we were leaving a boxing ring, we had left everything, all our energy, inside the classroom, fighting mainly against that inevitable tedium that children suffer if you repeat the same activity for more than 10 seconds. And that contagious chaos, which can start from one laugh, one noise out of the ordinary. You understand the “Butterfly effect” never better than in a classroom full of kids.

Just when you are about to give up, you hear someone pronouncing after you corrrectly and then another student looking at you intently, like trying to absorb all you know. Then, teaching, something you have never done in your whole life, becomes easy, so natural. You realize you are in front of 30 kids and that if you try a little harder, they will listen to you and perhaps, just perhaps, they will want to listen more and learn more and someday they will be able to break the circle, make their own destinies, and leave El Porvenir.

After classes, the kids run towards us. They all want their goodbye kiss. And hug. Some of them bring a pen and booknote and want us to write our names on it. We feel like movie stars but most of all, we are confused. We are in this low-income neighbourhood where most kids return to their house to face grim realities: a house too small for the average of 8 people that inhabit a El Porvenir house, or a house that has half of its roof and may remain like this for some time ( a house?) or a house where a family of 6 lives with less than US$6 a week. These and more are the problems that the “typical” family in El Porvenir has to face day by day.

By the way kids look up to teachers, remain quiet when they realize you really want to teach and are not there just to be an English tourist who will play games with them; by the drawings and other small hand-made gifts you receive after leaving a classroom with at least three kids hanging from your arm and wanting to walk with you, you would not be able to tell that this is El Porvenir, that these kids are in more need of help than any other kid in Trujillo.

Today I missed them. From the 5th of July the Teachers’ Union declared “Huelga Indefinida”, which basically means that teachers are protesting, not working, until they get what they want. I told the Director of the school that it was a pity fo the kids but he started telling me about a similar protest some years ago and how it had lasted almost all year. He looked proud of his and the rest of the teachers’ fight.

I need to explain a little bit more about the Law they are opposing and the many riots and movilizations that have been occuring in Peru even before this Huelga was declared.

I can not today. Today I needed to talk about these children. Take a look at some of them.

Posted By Jessica Boccardo

Posted Jul 6th, 2007

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