Target Tarso: Opening Doors to the World

Patio Bonito is a two-room schoolhouse in rural Tarso, a small town in Colombia's northwestern Department of Antioquia, provides a public education to area children. The nearly 4,000 residents of rural Tarso are mainly campesinos, or agricultural workers, and although school is mandatory for 5- to 14-year-olds in Colombia, until recently the decades of internal strife made it too dangerous for many children to attend school. And for campesino children, education often takes a back seat to working alongside their parents much of the year. When they are able to attend, many students must walk miles to and from school. Economic struggle is a way of life for these children, and in the past, many have completed a 4th- to 6th-grade education at most.

Fortunately, children's education is becoming a higher priority throughout Colombia as peace continues to spread throughout even the rural areas. In addition, the agricultural sector is experiencing an ongoing economic downturn. Parents along with governmental officials recognize the need to allow these children's horizons to be expanded beyond the limits of campesino life. Many understand that learning English is a key that can open doors to previously unimaginable opportunities, even for children in Tarso. But funding to improve Patio Bonito's facilities and teaching resources is very limited.

PharmaCielo Foundation has adopted Patio Bonito with the aim of working together with the school manager and Tarso Mayor Hugo Ocampo, a staunch education proponent, to transform this meager facility into an environment that unlocks doors to higher-level employment opportunities and unlimited possibilities. We want to help develop a nurturing, comfortable environment in which children can set aside the hardships they face at home while they focus on creativity and learning, and where their teacher has access to the resources necessary to provide a true 21st-century education.

Patio Bonito now employs one remarkable teacher to educate these children, of varied grade levels, together in two rooms fitted with desks, chairs, a few books and computers but not much else. The cracked asphalt playground is dangerous to run and play on, and lacking in sporting equipment. The two restrooms have only a hole in the floor, without toilets. The dining/kitchen facilities are severely lacking, limiting the school's ability to provide nutritious meals.

PharmaCielo Foundation's goal is to provide the needed resources and proper design, planning and implementation to enhance the classroom, playground, restrooms and kitchen. Specifically, we intend to provide: