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.

26 Jun

When I arrive to Trujillo this morning, I did not know exactly what to expect.

I knew about SKIP, about this NGO that made a commitment to get a good education to a large (always larger) number of low-income kids in Peru. As an Advocacy Project Fellow I was given a certain idea of what I needed to achieve during my stay here. I had, however, to be here, in El Porvenir, the neighborhood where SKIP’s office is located (some classrooms and a small playground) to understand why it is that SKIP needs us and all that we can do to help.

They say that Peru’s Constitution guarantees free education for everyone but they also say that nobody really knows who is in charge of paying what. In the end, the public schools must do all there is in their power to get enough income. This leads them to charge a fee aside from another payment “almost compulsory” that parents must make to the Parents Association responsible for the school mainteinance. The sum of all this plus other small costs such as uniforms or school materials, create insurmountable obstacles for parents at the moment of deciding whether to send their kids to school or not.

Up to now, SKIP has gotten around 200 kids into public schools, providing the money to cover all of this costs. This is just a first step though. There are all other reasons behind the fact that a kid does not go to school : parents that don’t know what is best for them, or don’t find it convenient or unfeasible and teachers who don’t know what is best or don’t find it convenient or cannot do it….

SKIP had to face the problems of this kids’ reality: many kids missed schhols or SKIP’s tutorials because they were sick so SKIP started a health program that includes sporadic health exams and treatments. Moreover, another group of SKIP’s volunteers has begun an alfabetization program for adults. Several meetings between parents and teachers have been organized as well since one of the main problems that this program encounters is teacher’s reticence to change

And there are so many ideas, many more. SKIP is thinking of organizing teacher’s trainings, expanding the help to more kids in the El Porvenir neighborhood…but resources are lacking. All of this is sustained just by the strength and good-will of volunteers of different parts of the world: Spain, England, USA and others from Peru.

Let’s see what comes out of this experience…

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Posted By Jessica Boccardo

Posted Jun 26th, 2007

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