Aflatoun teaching program
Start project: September 2019
In August 2018, Eugenie Kortenhorst and her husband visited Inti Sisa. Impressed by what she saw in the Indigenous communities and the work Inti Sisa does to improve the quality of education in the region, she mentioned the foundation she is part of in Holland: StartUp4kids (www.startup4kids.com) and the possibility to combine forces. StartUp4kids wants to offer extra education to disadvantaged children worldwide to help them to develop their talents and skills and take advantage of opportunities. In developing countries they provide financial support to local foundations that support socially and educationally underprivileged children with extra schooling stimulating their financial, social and personal development. StartUp4kids uses the Aflatoun methodology: a program of social and financial education. The Aflatoun teaching methodology encourages “learning by doing” through fun games, activities, songs and workbooks; children are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process. This includes school-wide savings clubs, financial and social enterprises, and group activities within the community
Guamote is a textbook example of the regions that could benefit enormously from this educational program.
So forces were combined. In February 2019, Tamia (trainer in Inti Sisa), Laura (kindergarden teacher in Inti Sisa) and Eva (coordinator Guesthouse Inti Sisa) participated in an Aflatoun master training in Quito, organized by the Aflatoun International NGO (www.aflatoun.com). With coparticipants from all over Latin America we spent and explorative and inspiring week, learning about the content and method of the Aflatoun program.
In September 2019 we started with the application of Aflatoun in different schools and communities surrounding Guamote. We see that more and more children go to school. But the quality of education is very low compared to other regions in the country. The Aflatoun program puts emphasis on developing the self-confidence of the children and learning about entrepreneurship. In a region where children grow up feeling inferior because they are Indigenous. Kids never learn how to handle money because they grow up in families who always struggle to deal with their debts, Aflatoun is the perfect tool to stimulate children in a creative way to be more self-confident, to save money, to start micro-businesses,…. The Aflatoun method engages a very active way of teaching. It stimulates creative and critical involvement of the children, which is very different from the classical pretty static and dominant educational method. It encourages children to participate, and it teaches them to think different about themselves and their future.
We work in 3 different communities: Santa Theresita (primary school), Chanchan (primary school) and Jatunpamba (informal group of children and youngsters who come together on Sunday). We even started the program with the toddlers in our kindergarden. We reach a total of 204 children. Our biggest achievement is to see these children develop from shy, insecure bystanders to self-confident, proud, active partipants in the program. We definitely encourage the change in girls who are still a lot less confident than boys. Sadly enough, we had to stop the program in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 emergency measures which included closing all schools in Ecuador. But we are confident that in September 2020 we will restart the program bigger and better than before with renewed energy, helping even more children to express their dreams and reach their goals.