The Canton Ojo de Agua Public School in Huizúcar, La Libertad was among the most affected schools by Tropical Storm Ida in 2009. For that reason, the United States through its Agency for International Development (USAID), funded the reconstruction of the school. The project was launched at a groundbreaking ceremony at the school, which serves more than 5,000 students from the surrounding communities.
The school director Marta Gómez thanked the US for the assistance. According to her, in 20 years working in the school, they had not received assistance to improve the facilities. “On behalf of children who need education and a decent place to study, I thank all the people who have made this assistance possible.”
Fifth graders Azalea Gomez and Wilber Ulises represented the student body who also expressed their thanks for reconstruction of their school.
Speaking to the students, Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Barkin underscored that the assistance for the reconstruction of schools by the U.S. government is an investment for the future of the students, which will also benefit the country’s future. “Education is not a waste of time. Without education we cannot advance, we cannot develop personally and professionally. It is the key to achieving our goals in life and to getting a good job that will allow you help your community and your country improve. It is the only way we can prepare ourselves for the future and the future of El Salvador.”
The U.S. diplomat also emphasized that good education includes the will and effort of students. “Here we will build with bricks, concrete and steel; but in your minds and hearts, the Salvadorans of the future are being prepared with wisdom, commitment and strong values,” said Barkin.
The new school building will feature environmentally friendly technologies and special classrooms to ensure optimum quality of learning. This project will benefit more than 5,000 members of the educational community and more than 14,000 people from surrounding areas.
USAID has invested $ 554,000 to rebuild the Canton Ojo de Agua Public School. USAID’s reconstruction program for schools damaged by tropical Storm Ida in La Libertad, San Vicente and La Paz totals $ 7.7 million.
The groundbreaking event was chaired by the DCM Michael Barkin; the Minister of Education representative, Luis Ibarra; the school principal, Marta Gómez Vilma, students and a representative of the parents of the students, Dalia Yanira Pineda. Each of the members of the head table participated by placing the stones that symbolized the values that the school teaches its students.