March 1, 2011
During January 2011, Keenan’s Kids continued partnering with Amigos for Christ, by meeting with the people of Chonco, and supporting their dream of a better life for their children.
The children of Chonco (about 350) are extremely poor and have never had an opportunity for education outside their family. Upon reaching the age of 5, their parents need them to work in the fields, and to help with the animals and other chores in order for the family to survive. For these families, getting food is the daily challenge, and it is formidable. The Amigos organization believes that education is one of the key elements for this community’s long term survival, and is committed to this mission. Consequently, with the support of hundreds of volunteers, Amigos first commenced a project to pipe water into the Chonco community, thereby eliminating a half day’s journey by burro to get it. At the same time, they built a simple school where Chonco’s children can now get through the 5th grade. Plans in the community are also underway to extend this educational opportunity through the 7th grade.
Unfortunately, attendance has been poor, as families need to continue their focus on immediate survival. Keenan’s Kids believes in the Amigos mission, and is supporting it by establishing a Food for School program for Chonco’s children. Basically, Keenan’s Kids will build a simple Comedor (a children’s feeding center) and will feed those children who attend school. The Amigos organization has had much success with this type arrangement in other communities, and based on our discussions with the families in Chonco, feeding their children will get them out of the fields and into a classroom. In the long term, we are confident that these children, armed with a better education, will help lead their families out of poverty.
Keenan’s father and mother, pictured above with some of the children of Chonco, have planned for the building of the Comedor to start on May 1st, with completion scheduled for September, to coincide with the 2011 Fall school term. Most important, the families of Chonco are filled with hope of a better life for their children. For us, we know that many of Keenan’s hopes and dreams are materializing here as well.