While kids in the States are returning to school after their Christmas vacation, children in El Salvador are just getting ready to start a new school year. Classes here start in mid January and run through mid November.
Preparing 25 kids for 9 different schools is quite an undertaking. Everything from uniforms to backpacks to notebooks must be purchased, wrapped, labeled, and organized. Lists of supplies vary from school to school, specifying not just the size, but also the type of notebook to be purchased and the color in which it must be wrapped. And that’s just for starters.
Having been through this before, we planned ahead and got some help. Rotary District 6650 took advantage of back-to-school sales at home in the States this past August and donated backpacks with supplies (markers, crayons, dictionaries, rulers, pencils, pens, permanent and dry erase markers), water bottles, new school shoes, tennis shoes, and sweaters for each child at the home. We then sent the supplies down with teams and visitors in order have it all in time for the start of the school year.
With the basics taken care of, we then needed to tackle each school’s specific requirements. Mandy created lists for each child to track our progress, and our volunteers got to work assembling each child’s bag of supplies. It took 5 trips to the store over 3 days to find and collect everything we needed. Including:
- 16 different types of notebooks (each kid needing an average of 5 different kinds)
- 40 rolls of colored craft paper
- 49 rolls of toilet paper
- 55 yards of plastic for covering books
- 30 yards of colored paper to cover notebooks
- 4000 sheets of white paper
- liquid hand soap
- hand towels
- different kinds of tape
- toys for a piñata
- plastic construction items
- baby wipes
- clear bookbags
- and more!
There were also 180 textbooks and 300 notebooks to be wrapped. Many of the books and notebooks had to first be wrapped in a specific color paper before then be wrapped in plastic which had to be ironed onto the book. Altogether our team of volunteers put in over 100 man-hours just on wrapping books!
School started last week. All the sorting and wrapping is behind us.
Until next year.