Cusco, Peru is in the southern hemisphere and the Peruvian school year runs from March to December each year. Every March the school is a sight to see as 110 + excited girls in bright red uniforms run down the road and through the gates to the school, gathering in the dining room for a cup of hot oatmeal. CW school has two kindergarten classes and all primary school grades 1-6. The bell rings and the school day begins with morning assembly to honor the Peruvian Flag, to be welcomed back by Ruth Uribe, the school Administrator/Director, and to be given news and information.
Prior to the start of school, during the Andean summer month of January, School Director, Ruth Uribe and CW teachers work together to update the school workbooks for every grade. Our teachers attend periodic intense teacher training workshops during the summer when available. Ruth always promotes CW values, and style of teaching for any new staff member, as teachers come from different teaching modalities.
The 4 and 5 year old little ones are ready to go to school for the first time. Most arrive able to speak their mother tongue Quechua and will begin now to learn Spanish.
The slightly older students get busy on their grade workbook prepared by the teachers to improve understanding.
The older girls are pros; most started with CW school at least 6 years ago and know the ropes and get started with their workbooks immediately.
Morning assembly where after the pledge to the Peruvian Flag the students receive the latest news and then are off to their classrooms.
The hot school meal is nutritious and high protein to combat some of the health problems found during the March medical exam. Poverty leads to malnutrition and lowered immune systems, anemia, TB and other preventable health problems due to malnutrition at home.The school hot meal is for some the only meal for them that day.
CW students love their bright red uniforms and stand tall in their red sweaters and gray plaid skirts. Wearing these beautiful uniforms empowers girls to be proud of themselves. Student’s faces light up with enthusiasm when wearing school uniforms. Our rural girls never believed they could go to school let alone a school created for them that feels like a home filled with love.
Soon every classroom will begin to organize their “room mothers” program. This is an important program that includes mothers in school activities so as to build relationships with the student’s families. The mothers select a head room mother for each class and those mothers choose the lead room mother for the school. This mother’s responsibility is to receive direction from the teachers regarding various projects, and then to organize the room mothers to participate in school events and projects, and to support their daughter’s class activities. We have found this to be an excellent way to gain mother’s trust and involve parents in their daughter’s education.
Chicuchas Wasi graduates and director Ruth Uribe have created a CW Alumnae Sisterhood group to meet every other month to update Ruth on their academic progress in public high school and discuss the response to their achievements. Five alumnae were honored as the highest achievers in the high school in 2015 and this turned many heads. These alumnae also meet with the older students to mentor and prepare them for public high school in their society. The upcoming graduates are relieved of their concerns and reminded of the preparation they have received. CW is changing the way the local society think of what girls can achieve with the examples of our girls.