Great News!! New Home for the Internado! March 2007

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Internado Entrance - from the courtyard

This has been an extraordinary month for the Internado.  School started in February with the Internado in the same location as last year, and enrollment up from eleven to eighteen.  A good beginning, indeed, in spite of the site being temporary.  A building was located that promised better control of comings and goings and more solid structure, but it seemed a distant prospect.  Within just three weeks, however, all the arrangements have been made and the Internado will move (piece by piece) this weekend, March 30-31.  WOW !!  There is now a permanent place for the young students (mostly Quakers) who otherwise would have to walk one to two hours each way to attend middle school or high school.

The new Internado was built as a “hostal” (something between a B&B and a hotel), with slate flooring, rammed-earth walls, and high quality wiring and plumbing; it will be possible to add another story, if that proves desirable.  The property is just two blocks from the main square in Sorata. 

The program is strong and growing in Bolivia.  We have increased the number of scholarships from 35 to 40 and the additional English classes from two to three hours per week, more and more volunteers are coming forward, and plans are firm for AVP workshops in June and FCE workshops in August.  If you haven’t contributed recently, please consider making your contribution to BQEF now, so we can keep helping these young Bolivian Quakers, all indigenous people who have long been oppressed, to continue moving forward toward a fuller life.

That is enough for now, except for the financial aspects pasted below. Expect to see our next newsletter in May.

May flowers bloom in your footsteps,

Newton

Appendix: Notes on Finances
Of course, the cost was considerable.  The antecrético (a refundable payment which allows exclusive use of the premises) increased from $3,000 to $25,000, with an 18-month option to buy the property for an additional $27,000.  Irish Friends have made three grants totaling $20,900, we get $3,000 returned from the previous antecrético, and board member Barbara Flynn raised the remaining $3,000. 

How will we raise the $27,000 to complete the purchase?  That is still up in the air.  But the Irish government has a policy of matching charitable overseas contributions by private groups, and Irish Friends have applied for $20,900 in government funds to match the amount they have already donated to this project.  (This is the same committee that successfully applied for matching funds for the QBL-funded clinic at Amacari.)  Benito Jallurana, the former scholarship recipient from Pallca Pampa who proposed the Internado and now coordinates it, is working with various other NGOs to secure additional funding.  Barbara has been so surprised and lifted up by the way that the Spirit has carried this project forward that she is confident that the way will open for the next step.

The capital outlay has exhausted the funds Barbara had on hand to cover the operating expenses of the Internado.  Those expenses are currently $510 per month, just $28 per student, but are likely to increase as more students from outlying communities are attracted to the safe access to secondary education which the Internado community offers.  So there is an opportunity to help push this project and our other work along.