It’s hard to believe how time flies. You may sometimes wonder, “what happens to the schools after they graduate from TINFA?” Last year, we celebrated the graduation of three elementary schools. This month, we went to visit these graduated schools, and would like to share an inside scoop of what has happened since graduation.
In the global and connected world in which we live, children without access to the increasing technological developments are frankly at a disadvantage. It is so important for us at TINFA that schools have the capability to sustain the program even after graduation when we longer have a hands-on approach. That is why we work with each school to formulate an action plan in which the school is prepared to contribute to their success. To boost that plan and to celebrate completion of the program, TINFA also provides a one time stipend, no strings attached, to strengthen that take off.
At Santa Cruz Mulua, we met with the principal and the school’s Finance Committee. The TINFA program is still running. The municipality has hired a teacher, to support all the classroom teachers so that they are using the equipment to its fullest potential. She helps find educational material online, assists with tools, and maintains the school's schedule that dictates whose turn it is to use the equipment. It is also her responsibility to maintain and upkeep the equipment.
Near the end of the year, the school ran into a problem. One of their projectors stopped working, and was not repairable. After 4 years of intense functioning in harsh environment, it happens. Thankfully the school had a strong sustainability fund that they built throughout the program, and are in a position of buying a new projector. They are also purchasing a new laptop, and are paying the monthly internet fee. The remaining funds is kept in the bank to accrue interest and they have scheduled a few fundraising activities to keep the sustainability fund healthy, and cover the costs of 2019. We are so excited that their game plan is working out and they are already planning for the future!
The day the we visited the school, Santa Cruz Mulua also had another visitor. A computer systems engineer was scheduled to inspect the computers and update the anti-virus software on both computers. The school is very attentive to keep their equipment running and taken care of, as it is used daily and essential for the teachers.
During our visit to Rangel Galindo elementary, we met with Principal Romeo and teacher Cesar (some of you have met Cesar, during his visit to Seattle in 2017). Cesar also is the TINFA project coordinator. During the meeting they mentioned that the equipment is still functioning well and that they have not run into any problems. The money was used to pay for internet and maintenance of the equipment.
At the beginning of our partnership with Rangel Galindo, when deciding what equipment would be best for this school, it was discussed that a TV would be more practical than a projector. With the purchase of the TV came a free bed... what oh! what could a school do with a new bed? They held off on cashing out the bed, until they came up with the brilliant idea of raffling the bed as a fundraising effort. What a way of thinking outside the box! Currently, the school is working with the municipality, for them to consider donating such an item again, and use the raffle donation to fund the internet costs for 2019.
All the schools were asked if the funds and support received from TINFA was useful. They all unanimously answered that the help has been of upmost importance because it has allowed them to keep the project running. They find that they have become accustomed to the equipment and the children want to be able to benefit from the technology in each of their classrooms. TINFA has been able to help teachers engage kids and make them excited about learning. We feel so humbled to be a part of their growth and we hope that they continue to use these tools in a way that is beneficial to the community!
Stay tuned for the next part of this series as we visit another TINFA graduate.