The Norwalk/Nagarote Sister-City Project operates the Darling Preschool in the Jeronimo Lopez barrio, named after a little girl named Darling who was killed crossing the highway on her way to school. This school was built after that tragedy on the same side of the highway as the barrio.
Currently we promise scholarships to every child who graduates from preschool. These scholarships allow the preschool children to attend public school -- they pay for books, shoes, school supplies, tutoring and uniforms. (See more information on our Scholarships Page.)
Our afterschool program shares a space with the preschool and in 2006 we noticed that the school was often closed and even when open very poorly attended. We did a survey of the neighborhood and learned that the salary for the teacher was so low that there was constant turnover and parents did not have confidence in the school. With donor support, we arranged to provide a monthly stipend for the teacher and two project teens to serve as aides in the classroom. Over a period of four years, the enrollment grew from 4 to 54 and the school is now one of the largest in Nagarote. The government has added another teacher
The school is pitifully lacking in supplies and what they do have is old and worn. In spite of their poverty, the children all come to school clean and with smiles on their faces – just like preschool children all over the world. Giving the children of Jeronimo Lopez, one of the poorest barrios in Nagarote, the opportunity to attend preschool – something many other barrios do not have -- is important because the key to eliminating poverty is education.
We are fortunate to have the Director of the Early Childhood Education Program at Norwalk Community on our Board and we are working to train the preschool staff in state of the art early education theory and method and to provide the preschool with the necessary equipment.