Brampton, ON - Beginning in April 2007, ACCESS has been funding the construction of a classroom for kindergarten children in Colombia (see country information at bottom). The classroom is being built as an extension of an existing school in Itagui, in the province of Antioquia, Colombia. The ACCESS Charity, thanks to generous donations and fundraising, is completely funding this project.
The room is to be used for local kindergarten students, as a safe place to learn and play. A secondary project, with excess donations, will add toys, decorations, learning activities, and furniture to the ACCESS classroom.
Generally, the government does not supply funding for the school (the government only pays the teachers' salaries). Therefore there is no budget to build this necessary expansion for the young students. Currently, these young children are forced to remain outdoors even in inclement weather. The dusty environment causes respiratory problems in the children there. This is where ACCESS has stepped in to help.
The project has been coordinated through a teacher in Colombia, based on a request from the Principal (Myriam Rocio Correa Arroyave) which ACCESS has received. Communication with Colombia occurs through a Colombian-born Canadian living in Ontario, Olga Patricia Ortiz.
Following the beliefs of ACCESS Charity, she believes that, "the only way to generate a real change in the future of Colombia is through education". Olga Patricia states that "There are many poor people all over the world, but give the chance to these people to build themselves, to see that there is hope… and this hope is not just charity, but education."
This follows the mentality that the act of "charity" is not the single solution. Building a school, digging a well, or delivering crates of food is charity – but it doesn't allow the recipients a chance to learn or grow towards social change (helping themselves create a sustainable system). Providing the materials and necessary skills so that the recipients in impoverished countries can complete these tasks on their own, is social justice.
As part of a fundraiser, ACCESS Charity along with student volunteers held a Spring Raffle at St. Marguerite d'Youville Secondary School with the grand prizes of Raptors Tickets and Restaurant gift cards.
Financial contributions of any amount are accepted to help fund the construction and stocking of this kindergarten classroom.
The Republic of Colombia is located in Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea (between Panama and Venezuela) and bordering the North Pacific Ocean (between Ecuador and Panama). It's estimated population as of 2006 is 43,500,000 people. Unfortunately, 49.2% of Colombia's population is below the poverty line.
Children in the Dominican Republic (Photo: Fern Maletta)