Helping a Colombian School: Part 2

The school building, as mentioned in the video in the previous post, had several problems. It hadn’t been painted in many years, the roof had huge holes in it and leaked terribly every time it rained, and the school was in bad shape in general. The teachers and I both understood that the condition of the building could negatively affect the psyche of the students. We knew that significant improvements to the building would immediately improve attitudes and discipline by giving them a happier place to study at every day.

 

First, we thought about how we wanted the school to look after the renovation. We wanted a mural on the side of the school, the shield of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, a Colombian flag, the name of the school across the top, a portrait of the namesake of the school, Andrés Escobar, and an inspirational quote. It was important to have a portrait of Escobar, a Colombian footballer who was brutally murdered in Medellín after scoring an own-goal in the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

We contracted a painter, Saul, to design the mural for the side of the school and to paint the designs we needed. He gave us an incredible offer knowing our funding situation. He basically cut his price in half and gave us the mural for free, and we had to cover the cost of supplies. This allowed us to stay well under budget and do even more things for the school.

 

Interior

The first part that was finished was the interior:

Wall - Before at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Interior Wall – Before

Wall - After at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Interior Wall – After

Wall - Before at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Interior Wall – Before

Wall - After at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Interior Wall – After

 

Damaged Roof

We also talked to a carpenter to fix the damaged roof. He was so inspired by the project that he offered his services for basically nothing plus supplies.

Ceiling - Before at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Ceiling – Before

Ceiling - After at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Ceiling – After

Exterior

Saul worked tirelessly and finished the exterior after a few weeks. When it was done, the school ended up being called “the most beautiful school in Belén”. It went from another drab building in a rough community to drawing people to the neighborhood just to see the new look. Here are the before and after photos:

School - Before at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

School – Before

School - After at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

School – After

The following photos are some of the details of the school, including the shield, portrait of Andrés Escobar, and the very appropriate quote by Nelson Mandela – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”:

School shield at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

School shield

Andrés Escobar portrait and Nelson Mandela quote at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Andrés Escobar portrait and Nelson Mandela quote

The mural instantly beautified the school and the entire neighborhood:

Mural at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Mural

Mural at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Mural

 

Colombian Flag

The finishing touches on the school were saved for last. We decided that the Colombian flag should be made of handprints of the students. Marisol told them that by putting their handprint on the flag, they were signing a contract to take care of the school, study hard, respect the other students, and to be honest at all times. All of the students took it seriously and faithfully agreed. During the last hour of class, we had each student and teacher put their handprint on the flag.

Painting the Colombian flag at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Painting the Colombian flag

Painting the Colombian flag at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Painting the Colombian flag

Colombian flag at Andrés Escobar School in Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Colombian flag

More to come…

One thought on “Helping a Colombian School: Part 2

  1. Marisol

    Gracias a tu generosa gestión y la solidaridad de muchas personas ahora mi lugar de trabajo es hermoso y mis estudiantes se sienten orgullosos de su escuela. Dios los bendiga a tod@s!!! Great job.

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