Welcome to Educateperu.org
EDUCATEPERU is the project of Jill Bignell, a languages teacher from England.
Update May 2019
I have visited Peru dozens of times now, the first time for 6 months, 3 years in between and then for a few months at a time in between. I have given up my permanent job in England to give all my efforts to researching what is needed, where and why, by way of education for children in poor areas. No one funds me, I am independent and fund myself by sometimes renting out my house in England when I am in Peru and/or doing supply work when I am home. I have more than 30 years experience of teaching languages (English, French & Spanish) in England to pupils aged between 9 and 16 & adults.
In Peru, I began work 14 years ago as an unpaid volunteer in a school for the poor in St Juan de Lurigancho, a suburb north of Lima. Thus I gained experience of what is needed, what is most urgent and what are the other local needs, a lot of which could be met by a school building which is also used as a community resource. This started years of fundraising to build our school in Pachacutec, north of Lima, which is an area of shanty houses.
Goals of Educateperu
My idea in Peru was to construct a school, in an area where none exists, to offer Education in the widest sense of the word, to cater for children from 4 – 16. There is a scheme whereby the government offer parcels of land for educational purposes to a charity such as Educateperu, for free. It means that we do not own the land, but on the other hand, nor do we have to buy it in the first place, an expensive and fraught procedure for foreigners to do. The ‘trick’ is to encounter such a piece of land in a place where you might want to build.
This we did with the opening in 2008 of Saxlingham St. Mary’s school – which conveniently translates into Santa María – for 120 pupils. The children are well-taught by qualified teachers who have been selected for their empathy and understanding of the goals of Educateperu. As such, although Peru is essentially a Catholic country, there are a variety of religions here and the school embraces a culture of the spirit of Christianity, all children being welcome.
The poorest children in the school are supported by a scheme that I run called “godparenting” – see the appropriate section for a form and more details. This provides daily hot meals and free education for children who would otherwise not be able to attend school – ie it is totally free for them. The other children pay the minimum possible to cover the costs of paper, books and their meals. At this moment, there are 650 children in a school ranked 10th country, yet it is set in one of the poorest zones in Peru. In 2019, with another extension, there are now 750 children.
The building is also used by the community, as and for the purposes that may arise: eg workshops on parenting; practical/technical workshops for the parents and pupils and the help of a psychologist.
Thus far, my efforts with fund-raising have been on a private basis in England, thanks to friends, family and listeners to BBC radio. In Peru, I have now made contact with several influential people who have promised help ‘in kind’ ie free legal advice and action re. licences etc. The architectural design for the new project has been donated by Enrique Palacios of Miraflores, in Lima. The cement for the building has also already been donated too..but there’s always room for more donations!
Our new goal has been to build a bakery training school since the first year of our eldest pupils left school in December 2014. Many of them will be the first in their families to have completed a secondary education. As in the UK, if you have not completed school by the time you are 16, there is no certification available and therefore no kind of further training or higher level job available to you either.
I signed for a piece of land in 2018 for the bakery school in Villa Salvador, Lima, given by the wonderful Padre Omar, which will be built this year.
Further information and photographs can be seen on this website (new projects/news) of www.educateperu.org and I can be contacted for further details on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate your support.