Friday, February 27, 2009
I was once again reminded of the great spirits at work in this difficult District in a meeting today where many important institutions of the city were gathered. I was impressed to know about the foundation Give to Colombia (www.givetocolombia.org) where an important contact might result in great future cooperation. I will write more about all of this shortly. For now let me post a video of a typical school visit from the field work.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 8:36 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Note: we use the term public school when referring to government owned schools. "Public" as "accessible to the public" would be more correctly connected to the private schools, as they are more spread out and numerous, with more seats available (and affordable) for the children without forcing them to cross dangerous neighborhoods just to get to school.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 12:31 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 12:19 AM
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Monday, February 23, 2009
Only months after our field work he initiated his own foundation and has at several occasions asked me to give him contact information to any organization I might know about that could help funding his initiatives. I so wish this blog could be a start towards continued cooperation with and success for our Great Gerardo.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 11:55 PM
Just today (not counting the fact it's past midnight) I was called from the University where I wish to get connected to facilitate continued research (together with Pauline Dixon from Newcastle who actually has a bid proposed for an investigation including a project under me on Aguablanca and talented children in slums. The phone call today was from the Foundation of the University that wanted my confirmation for a reunion in the neighborhood Poblado II this Friday. The topic is on how to reintegrate complicated and extremely violent children into the community as a part of a civilized society. Formal education has not really worked too well around there and the Foundation is having an interesting project working since 23 years with positive results.
The model at the moment is a very informal such where a group of 60 youths are trained to be "maestro leaders" and as such lead work shops with the 300 children included in the program. A kind of a coaching program that has very appealing aspects to it that are worth elaborating.
Together with my neighbor and educator friend Rodrigo and thanks to Pauline and Prof Sugata Mitra, we're working on an idea of including the "whole in the wall" model into this environment. Hopefully we can achieve the attention needed to fund the idea. At the moment the University Foundation has a bid on a major project consisting of a recreational park, which with a properly described educational element added might receive a large financial contribution from the European Union. The funding is looking for a project for children in areas of conflict. This can definitely be found here.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 10:29 PM
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Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 8:46 PM
Here, met by three mothers in "La Florida", where only one school could be found, private and in great condition opposed to what one would believe. Thanks to a Dutch organization the school could be built. Minor fees are charged and for school lunch only 100 Colombian pesos (almost 3 cents of a Euro) - even this too much at times. See following post with me sitting in the school stairs next to a small girl.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 8:41 PM
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Class size was another key factor studied. The picture shows a small private school with relatively few pupils in the class. This image was the same for most private schools that work with less physical resources but with more teachers available for the pupils. It's thus easy to already with this information speculate in the higher degree of dedication to the pupils in private schools and with this information continue to arguing in favor of more attention to these in stead of all kinds of aid to government school bureaucracy.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 6:23 PM
Necessary to say is that public (government) preschools are basically non-existing in entire Cali. Of the 130 schools completely surveyed and observed, only 19 were government schools, providing education for only 35 % of the poor children in the District. Additionally, their large size doesn't help their provision of quality education much as the number of children per teacher is too high and the teachers with safe (government) salaries less dedicated than their private school colleagues.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 5:28 PM
Having set out the investigation as a part of an interesting piece of work for our Master's Thesis, which we both were and still are very passionate about, the actual reality we're touching with the field work is indescribable, touching on so many levels and to an extent that made me, Joni, define a big part of my professional desires for my future.
Now, a year and a half later, I'm finally reaching the availabilities to not just continuing the academical research but more importantly to really being able to make a difference, although for only a tiny fraction of the children in need on the short run, but by developing a practical-academical model that really helps the children develop their potential and find aspirations in life great things can be achieved. I'm not only blindly believing in that, but actually feel that I've found the intellectual and practical connections needed to come a long way during a visible amount of time.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 4:24 PM
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In the background - my hammock, lent to me by my house mate Ivan.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 3:24 PM
From left to right: me (Joni), Gerardo (our second guide and escort in community 14 - amazing person and friend), Dora (in the front - another amazing person who got robbed twice in one weekend and a year later sadly lost a child), Angela (psychologist working with disarmed guerrilla youths) and Patrik (my Master's Thesis Partner and intellectual inspiration during the entire Thesis work).
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 3:17 PM
How we found Dora:
- Informal contact Karol, who presented me to:
- her teacher Fernando Urrea, who we had mailed from Sweden long ago because of his publications of the ethical situation in Aguablanca and who we finally could meet in his house to present our mission, a meeting in which he called and presented us as his friends from Stockholm to a "black community leader":
- Don Jamie Perrea, who very interested met us and took us to his friend:
- William Rodriguez, professor at the Valle University and teacher of:
- Dora's, who he recommended to us as our first guide.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 2:14 PM
Just days ago my Thesis Partner Patrik updated me on his achievements back in Stockholm with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, and their interest in finally follow-up on the results that their funding helped finding.
On this picture, Patrik (the tall one) and me in one of the poorest areas of the district investigated, Aguablanca in Cali, Colombia.
Posted by UnitedWinds Publication - Joni AlWindi at 1:36 PM