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Blanca Hilda School project - The Ripple Effect
Category: Literacy | By RotaryGlobal, 18-Nov-2011 | Viewed 7341  Comments 0

Blanca Hilda School Inauguration - October 17, 2011

Gualan, Guatemala
The inauguration at Blanca Hilda School began at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast at the school. The tables were set up under tarps as it was a rainy morning. Teachers, the Principal, 11 Rotarians & spouses from Rotary Club of Gualan (there are only 15 members in the club), and Canadian visitors, Rotarians Jim Coulter, RC of Watrous; John Berringer & spouse Dr. Rowena Lass and Gord & Deb LeMaistre, Rotary Club of Kenora; and Dr. Deborah Walters, DG of District 7790 were there to celebrate!

After breakfast the Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala, Hugues Rousseau and Christina Laur, Team Leader, Canadian Cooperation Section from the Canadian Embassy arrived, as well as a representative from the Ministry of Education, the Mayor of Gualan and several representatives from local city and department governments.

The students arrived (more than 400 girls), the speeches began with many people expressing their gratitude and asking us to offer their thanks to the Rotary Club of Prince Albert, District 5550 World Community Service Foundation and the Canadian Rotary Collaboration for International Development.

Canadian ambassador to Guatemala, Hugues Rousseau

Canadian ambassador to Guatemala, Hugues Rousseau

The speech by Ambassador Hugues Rousseau was especially encouraging as he explained that the work of Ripple Effect throughout the country makes him, and the Canadian Government look good.

He offered to assist in any way he could, and asked to be invited to more of the Ripple Effect's grand openings. He also requested we contact him when we return to Guatemala so we can meet and discuss ways we can work together. The Ambassador had a strong message for the students, telling them that it is very important for them to remain in school and work hard at their studies.

One student who was very excited about the proceedings wanted to have her picture taken. She had a very special request. She wanted her photo taken with Prince Albert as she was quite sure he would attend the ceremony given that he'd funded the construction!

Blanca Hilda School
We were not allowed to view the newly constructed classrooms until after the speeches were done. Although we'd seen pictures of the partially completed building, walking around the corner of the older building and seeing the new classrooms was an emotional event! What a beautiful building, with it's wrought iron, tiled floors, white ceilings, and beautiful view of the community!

Those involved in the project directly, and those who sponsored the project financially may remember that the Blanca Hilda School in Gualan is an all girls school of more than 400 students. The school was overcrowded with some classes being held outside.

The washrooms for the most part didn't work, and there was about a 5 ft. drop off one end of the front of the washroom building with no railing.

The initial plan by the municipality was to remove a large tree on the property to accommodate the 2 classrooms Ripple Effect had agreed to build. After a meeting with parents, teachers, city council and Rotarians, it was agreed that the beautiful tree must be spared. Through negotiations the municipality agreed to remove an old single classroom to be replaced by 2 classrooms Ripple Effect and 2 more funded by the municipality for a net gain of 3 Classrooms.

Ripple Effect would like to thank the Rotary Club of Prince Albert. The club should be VERY proud of completing another great project. The Rotary Club of Gualan asked us to pass along their gratitude and look forward to working together on another Ripple Effect project soon.

The Ripple Effect
The Ripple Effect has been busy...

Here is a brief history of some of the work of this program:

May 2011
Construction is underway on several Ripple Effect Schools!
Joya Verde School in Joya Verde is under construction. 4 new classrooms will be completed in Phase 2. Rotary Club of Winnipeg West is the lead  The school also received 5 computes complete with modem, printers and software from Rotary eClub One.

April 2011
San Miguelito School in Huehuetenango started in early April. They will receive 5 ew classrooms in Phase 1.  Rotary Club of Kenora is the lead club.

December 2010
Funds have been sent to begin constructon of 7 classrooms at El Corcho Sur and Tierra Blanca Schools in El Asintal, Retalhuleu Guatemala.  El Corcho Sur School is a project of R.C. of Regina Eastview for 5 classrooms and washrooms. Tierra Blanca School is a project of Schools Building Schools,Northwesten Ontario.  The construction consists of 2 classrooms and new washrooms.

October 2010
Funds for 4 classrooms and refurbished washrooms at Blanca Hilda School in Gualan have been sent. The 2 story 4 classroom building is a joint effort of the Rotary Club of Prince Albert and the Municipality of Gualan.

October 2010
Funds have been sent to R.C. Metropoli for the construction of 7 washrooms at Rural Mixta 767 El Parasio, Palencia. The sod turning ceremony occurred when Gord & Deb visited the school in October. The workers have begun construction, and should be completed within the next three months. 

June 2, 2010
Project Status:
Xolhuitz II - New Kitchen, books, desks has been completed.
Tameja - Construction is underway to build two classrooms, principal's office
Pajales - funds have been sent to build 6 washrooms and a cemented playground

May 15, 2010
CIDA announced a grant to Rotary Canada of $3.1 Million dollars for Rotary World Community Service projects in 8 countries. Ripple Effect Program received $358,837 of that money through CRCID. Rotary in Canada money may be matched with funds at a ratio of 1:.52 and invested in Education in Guatemala through the Ripple Effect Program. 

May 11, 2010
Funding has been sent today to RC Retalhuleu, Guatemala to build washrooms and a playground at Pajales School

May 11, 2010
Funding has been sent today to RC Vista Hermosa, Guatemala to build 2 classrooms, a kitchen and office at Tameja School!

May 5, 2010
Certificates of Appreciation to all Rotary Clubs who have participated in the Ripple Effect Program over the past will be presented at the D5550/D5580 District Conference in Winnipeg on May 15, 2010.

May 3, 2010
Club to Club Agreement Signed

A Club to Club Agreement has been signed with the Rotary Club of Saskatoon and the Rotary Club of Vista Hermosa for the building of a new school in Tameja, Guatemala.
April 2010: Ripple Effect Scholarship Fund:

The Canadian Ripple Effect Committee (CREC) has recruited the Rotary Club of Regina South as the lead funding partner so we can continue to fund the Ripple Effect Scholarship Project at Xenecoj School with the Rotary Club of Vista Hermosa in Guatemala. 

The Rotary Club of Regina South committed $2,500 and has received a $2,500 matching grant from the Rotary District 5550 World Community Services Foundation. The club will work with CREC to lead a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $7,000 or more from other clubs and private donations. 

Matching Grant
A Matching Grant for the purchase of 473 Q Beta Water Filters has been approved by The Rotary Foundation. This is a $23,600 US project to supply Ripple Effect Schools in Guatemala.

For more information contact Gord LeMaistre at 807-548-5390 or glemaistre1@hotmail.com
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