Going back to school in Peru

At last, they can have live lessons again! Young people from the Ayacucho region in Peru were eager to resume their agricultural training in March.

It was long awaited and in March the training centre with its model farm in Ayacucho was able to open its doors again. Young people with an agricultural dream can go there to discover new farming methods together and to hone their personal entrepreneurial skills.

In the brand new training centre, the young people are taught sustainable agricultural techniques and topics such as business management.

Fortunate exception

Schools in Peru abruptly switched to online teaching in March 2020. Easier said than done ... In many rural areas, the internet connection is inadequate. Families often do not have their own smartphone, laptop or printer and above all lack the necessary digital skills. To this day, most schools in the country remain closed: teachers and the education ministry continue to wait for the vaccination campaign, which is very slow to get underway. But fortunately for the Jovem students , the agricultural school in the Ayacucho region is an exception. Since March, they have been welcome in the training centre again, in safe conditions!

High above the clouds

Up to the last minute, the Jovem team were kept in the dark about whether or not the lessons could be resumed in ‘the stable’. The stable? That is the nickname for the model farm and training centre, located at an altitude of 3800 metres in the Andes. Young people learn the principles of organic agriculture and horticulture and discover new ways of entrepreneurship. Sustainable soil management, erosion prevention, water conservation, recycling, composting and eco-friendly pest control are all included in the teaching programmes that combine theory and practice.

In recent years, the young people have come to 'the stable' every two weeks for a weekend, to learn by doing in a group. Their social and personal skills were also challenged and strengthened by living together in the stable. Conflicts or group work were important learning moments.

The model farm offers numerous learning opportunities in the areas of animal husbandry (dairy cattle, pigs, guinea pigs, alpacas, chickens and bees), crops (organic quinoa, cañihua, kiwicha and tarwi), flowers and plants (strawberries, blueberries), fishing (trout) and innovative methods such as hydroponics.

At last! A large group of enthusiastic young people are eager to take part in live lessons again.

Green light

The pandemic threw quite a spanner in the works in 2020. Laptops and modems were provided for the second-year students to follow online lessons, but here too, the digital skills of the young people and the internet connection proved to be major stumbling blocks. Home visits offered a solution, but due to the difficult circumstances, no new first-year students were selected.

In 2021, despite the ongoing pandemic, the team decided to resume lessons 'in the stable'. The learning moments are so much richer and the live lessons a great motivation for the students. In three of the five villages, the project received the green light from the parents, the young people and the schools to organise it. Cooperation was also established with two other villages.

New auditorium and new dormitories

The pupils are very impressed with the new auditorium that was built in 2020. Jovem’s building had become too small to continue teaching the growing number of youths. With support from the Collibri Foundation and others, Solid built a new, large classroom and new dormitories. After the lessons, the young people can stay here and relax.

“The previous room in which we were taught was a lot smaller,” says 16-year-old Yoselin Gómez Flores. “The new room is more modern and there is much more space.” Her dream is to become a chicken farmer and study veterinary medicine at university. She now has her own barn with chickens. “My family helped build the barn and my parents help feed the chickens. With the income I can pay for my studies.”

The new auditorium and dormitories were built with the support of the Collibri Foundation and others.

“The new room is more modern and there is much more space. At Jovem, I learn so much about animal husbandry, entrepreneurship and about myself”

-  Yoselin Gómez Flores

Collibri Foundation

Address

Colruyt Group
Edingensesteenweg 196
1500 Halle

Phone

+32 (0)2 363 55 45
during office hours