Education in El Dorado and throughout the continent

Uruguay
Learn about América Solidaria's first project in Uruguay, which includes the participation of over 300 children and teens. It is located in one of Uruguay's seven most vulnerable urban areas.

The project will be located in El Dorado, a town near the city of Las Piedras, in the district of Canelones, Uruguay, where 40% of the population is under 20 years old. This town and the nearby areas were defined as one of the primary social emergency zones by the Department of Social Development in 2013 (see note at the end) . Specifically, 55% of homes lack access to basic needs and 45% of the population has no education beyond elementary (primary) school. Of the seven public schools in the area, five attend a population that falls into the 1st or 2nd quintile based on income.

Since 2009, the organization Fe y Alegría has been working in El Dorado developing educational proposals for early childhood and school-aged children and teens in formal and informal educational centers. Since 2015, América Solidaria is supporting two of these centers: Colegio San Adolfo and Espacio Adolescente Juntos.

Colegio San Adolfo is a school with 228 students from kindergarten to 6th grade. Considering the conditions mentioned and the poor educational climate, most of these students do not receive educational support in their homes, which exacerbates and compromises the situation for children with learning difficulties. Teachers have seen multiple cases of children falling behind in their learning, especially in reading and writing.

The school dropout rate and drug abuse rates in El Dorado are high. The lack of role models to motivate kids and teens to stay in school, the poor educational levels in their homes, and peer pressure are all factors that lead to the high formal education dropout rates and subsequent lack of quality job opportunities. In response to this reality, Espacio Adolescente Juntos provides after-school support to 100 young people who attend high school (the local high school or UTU -technical school) in the morning. The educators in this center set a goal to keep all of these young people in school. Although they have achieved their goal, they have also observed that the educational levels in their youth are below par, hindering their chances of finding any sort of quality employment.

América Solidaria’s first project in Uruguay responds to this context, with a focus on improving the quality of the educational intervention provided by Colegio San Adolfo and Espacio Adolescentes Juntos to children and teens with learning difficulties, thereby contributing to the El Dorado community as a whole. The project aims to prevent kids from falling behind and reduce difficulties in upper levels, through the development of a methodology to address deficits in reading, writing and mathematical-logical reasoning, and by strengthening educational psychology skills of teachers and educators.

Two volunteer professionals with degrees in teaching and education will be responsible for this project, in conjunction with the América Solidaria Uruguay team. They are: Carolina Vidal, Chilean 29-year-old educational psychologist and George Auccaille, Peruvian 26-year-old social psychologist. They both arrived in Uruguay in early April and will stay for one year, leading the educational furtherance process in the El Dorado centers. They will be followed by other volunteer professionals next year to continue the project.

By the end of the year, it is hoped that the students of Colegio San Adolfo will have educational psychology and learning diagnoses, as well as a reduction in their reading risk, especially in the last three years of elementary school, where Carolina will be working directly. She will be developing an educational psychology intervention proposal that will continue into subsequent years. George will work with the Espacio Adolescente to sustainably raise the grades of the teens and improve their reading, writing and mathematical-logical reasoning levels. Both Carolina and George will support teachers and educators with tools for addressing learning difficulties and achieving a more effective educational intervention.

The project commenced in April and is estimated to last for three years. if you would like to collaborate with this project, please write to uruguay@americasolidaria.org

Together we can do it!



Note: The “Seven Zone Plan” of the Department of Social Development (MIDES) proposed certain intervention measures and strategies for seven highly vulnerable areas of Montevideo and Canelones. These include Vista Linda, which is part of the same zone as El Dorado (only a few blocks away). Read more here.