Brother Jim Glos, One More Alumnus following our Motto “Facta Non Verba”

Dear Friends,

This is an interesting and, in many ways, critical time for the Catholic Church. We now have a new leader, Pope Francis. Judging from his history as a bishop in Argentina and from his first actions and pronouncements, he seems to have a mind similar to that of Francis of Assisi. Perhaps he is the person the Catholic Church needs to encourage us to be ever more faithful in living and proclaiming Jesus’ values to a world which in many ways cherishes counter values which only serve to undermine solid virtue and which is creating a world where the poor keep getting poorer and the Earth is threatened with severe catastrophes.

Yachay Wasi Institute

In my previous newsletters I have informed you about the various projects of the Yachay Wasi Institute. Many of you now know about its existence; however some who receive this newsletter will hear about it for the first time. Therefore, I will give a short summary of Yachay Wasi’s history.

The Institute began in 1982 in a school called Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Arequipa, Peru. The founders are Betty Barbachan, Juana Loayza and Brother Jim Glos, all of whom are science teachers. In the school we worked together to develop a teaching method, which would get the students more involved in the learning process, using hands-on materials, group work and various principles of neuroscience. We called the method Yachay Wasi, which in Quechua, one of Peru´s native languages, means “House of Learning”. When we finished our time in the school we continued to work together to promote this method with other teachers via teacher-training workshops, at first, in many parts of the country, and eventually concentrating our efforts mainly in the city of Arequipa.

 Community Development Project

In last year’s newsletter I described a five-year Community Development Project that we began in 2012, partially financed by two Swedish foundations (Svalorna and Forum-Syd). Along with two other Peruvian non-government organizations, we work with the people of Castilla Media, a hill province of Arequipa. In this project Yachay Wasi’s objective is to promote quality education and the objectives of the other NGOs are to increase increased democratic participation and quality productive practices in agriculture within the populations of five hill towns.

The first year (2012) we made significant progress in establishing the presence of our project in two of the five towns, Machaguay and Viraco. This year (2013) we will reinforce and amplify the advances made in 2012 and also make inroads in the other three towns of Tipan, Pampacolca and Uñon. The people accepted our presence with open arms and have shown us that they want to actively participate in each of the three objectives of the Project.

During this first year Yachay Wasi worked closely with all the teachers of initial, primary and secondary education, doing workshops in which we transferred our active and hands-on method. Although there have been encouraging evidences of improvement in the schools, there is still much to do to help the teachers improve their professional efficiency. Perhaps the most significant improvement was seen in environmental education, in which all the schools established Environment Protection Committees with teachers, students, and the active participation of parents. As a result each school now has a solid-waste management program and a model vegetable garden, which applies modern irrigation techniques (drip and aspersion irrigation). These gardens will have an influence on local farmers to install this type of irrigation in their fields in order to conserve water. The source of water is from run-offs from the Coropuna Glacier, which provides water to all the afore-mentioned towns. Because of local global warming, every year less water is available.

A school of our own

For almost 30 years the Yachay Wasi Institute has been working with teachers in Arequipa and many other parts of Peru to help improve the quality of education in the country. In Arequipa we have concentrated much of our efforts so that we can supervise and monitor how the trained teachers put into practice what they have learned. This type of follow up has been beneficial and has produced some impressive results.
However, over the years people keep asking us to begin our own school in which we can daily apply the Yachay Wasi Teaching Method. For a number of reasons, especially for the economic outlay involved, we have been reluctant to take on this project. But we now feel that the time has come and we are making the preparations to convert our office complex in Arequipa into a model school to begin in March of 2014. We plan to start with initial education (three and four year olds) and every year to add a grade. Our vision is to have a fully established primary and secondary school established and running over the next ten years. Our plans are ambitious, but, taking the example of Blessed Edmund Rice, we have faith in God’s Providence. So once more we appeal to your generosity to help us continue to make significant advances in education in Peru. Because it is difficult and expensive to cash U.S. checks in Peru, we have better results depositing the checks in a USA bank for electronic transfer to our bank in Arequipa. Please make checks out to:

Brother Jim Glos, Peru Missions

c/o Jack O’Keefe

10118 S. Seeley
Chicago, IL 60643

Brother Jim Glos
jamesglos50@gmail.com

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