“Once inextricably linked with drug lords, gang violence and guerrilla warfare, Colombia has achieved notable success in dismantling cartels and demobilizing more than 30.000 left-wing and paramilitary fighters… Today, a thriving forward-thinking society has a rising middle class with modern cities that boast some of the finest healthcare facilities and universities in the region.” Colombia is a burgeoning figure in the global market. In fact, they’ve climbed 42 positions in the last 6 years in the World Bank Economic Freedom in the World and Index of Economic Freedom ‘Doing Business’ Report. Colombians are now ranked as the third happiest country on the Happy Planet Index. Despite all of this amazing growth and advancement, there is an education system that has been allowed to fall far behind. In urban areas children are schooled for an average of seven years – this statistic includes higher education – which is double the amount of time children in rural areas spend in school. In Colombia, the chasm between rich and poor has been described by the UN as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western hemisphere.” 70% of the education in the country is privatized, while the 30% that are publicly funded remain substandard and lacking materials.
In the early 2000’s, the Colombian government made budget cuts to the education system in order to put more capital into military campaigns. Unfortunately, that left the country lagging in the manpower required to uphold it’s extreme economic and technological advancement over the past decade. My purpose in Colombia, through the non-profit organization WorldTeach, will be to integrate with the public school system and make efforts towards equalizing the access to superior education. I will be spending a full year in the country working to teach English, provide knowledge on building successful educational infrastructure, and to learn about ways to work towards narrowing poverty gaps. I would never have had this opportunity to be involved in such an amazing project were it not for the many people that supported my passions. Thank you so much to everybody who was a part of my journey so far and who I hope will continue to follow the journey that unfolds. You are amazing people and I’m glad you’re a part of my life.
Donors to thank:
Gina and Dave Pockrandt
Patty and Chess Geving
Carol and Z Premji
The New Basics Crew
Everybody who attended the La Mondain’s Caravan de Colombia
All of the lovely Ozo customers
I appreciate all the help and support given.