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November 2021 Newsletter

Evaluation of Ilobasco Vocational Courses

Registration for first semester classes was greatly reduced by the pandemic, however classes started up in both training centers in Ilobasco and Apastepeque. Ilobasco enrolled students in three classes—Introduction to Computers (8), Dressmaking (6), and Cosmetology (13) for a total enrollment of 27. All students completed class evaluations. Interestingly, the cosmetology students reported more earnings than the dressmaking and computer students as a result of learning new marketable skills. All reported practicing what they learned: the computer students using their knowledge primarily in their schoolwork; the dressmaking students sewing for their friends and families; and the cosmetology students providing services in their communities. All described positive experiences with their teachers and in the classes.

Origami in El Salvador

by Naoko Kamioka

In early August of this year, I joined Jim and Archer Heinzen and Teddi Ahrens as part of Co-partners annual visit to El Salvador.

I am an education specialist and my recent interest is to spread Origami (paper folding art from Japan) in the United States and worldwide especially among underserved children. My interest in Origami stemmed from evidence of its benefits for children’s education and development as well as my own experience working in developing countries where limited educational materials are available. Origami needs just square paper – any paper cut into a square will do. In addition to conducting Origami sessions with children, I asked Archer to recruit some schoolteachers at the center so that I could introduce Origami as an educational tool.

Twelve teachers participated -- six pre-school, four elementary school and two middle school. First I showed them a video of an Origami Rap Song I created to introduce the art of Origami: “Fold It, Super Fun, Origami Education…” Then I taught the teachers how to fold a paper crane - a popular and traditional paper folding in Japan. My intention was to let teachers try Origami first and then ask whether they could see the benefit of origami for children. One pre-school teacher said Origami could help young children develop fine motor skills. The elementary school teachers noted the possible effect for enhancing concentration, mindfulness, and creativity. Another suggested developing a sense of geometry, for which there is precedence among prominent mathematicians and engineers whose interest in geometry was triggered through Origami. The last and most important part of the session was small group work in which teachers developed a lesson plan incorporating Origami. It was a nice surprise to see what each group came up with! A group of pre-school teachers used Origami animal faces to teach names of each animal with a joyful song. The teachers of English at an elementary school made Origami clothes (dress, shirt and trousers, and a winter coat) to teach names of clothes in English. The middle-school teachers folded the train, boat and airplane to teach different means of transportation and their special features (velocity, cost, etc.). Reflecting on their experience, teachers said to me that they are always searching for new materials and teaching resources to use in the classroom, and they were happy to learn about Origami. They believe Origami helps make lessons joyful and interesting and they see utility for its use in the classroom.

Lauriol Plaza Happy Hour

Luis Reyes is generosity personified. He is the co-owner of Washington’s popular Latin restaurant who has sponsored happy hours to benefit Co-partners for NINE years. Luis gives us space, donates food and half of the take on the drinks

Until this year, the happy hours have taken place on the third floor of the restaurant. This year, because of the pandemic, we were reluctant to sponsor an event indoors. However, there was a solution. True to his creative nature, Luis had tented the restaurant parking lot and decorated it with lights for weekend use. We asked if he would let us hold the happy hour outside under the tent on a weekday evening. He immediately agreed, and we had what many people thought was the best ever happy hour. During the happy hour we also sell Guatemalan and Salvadoran crafts and pass the hat, enabling us to earn several thousand dollars in one event.

Guatemala Chicken Project

Due to the success of the Rotary funded chicken project, the Red de Mujeres has proposed expanding the project to include more women. A new application is pending with two Rotary clubs

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