During the last couple of months members of the Arhuaco community have been working on the project to rebuild an elementary school in the small community of Sogromin. This initiative is being supported and partly funded by Foundation Protect our Cultures as part of the educational project. It is important to highlight that Sogromin is an Arhuaco community which can only be reached by foot or mule, climbing for approximately 8 hours across the western side of the Arhuaco reserve. As most of the Arhuaco communities, Sogromin does not have access to telecommunications nor electricity, making a project like this quite challenging. To read more about Sogromin please click here →
Ruperto Chaparro Villafana (Gunjarimaku), a native from Sogromin, has been one of the leaders of this school project initiative since the beginning. He is the main Arhuaco fund raiser and also manages the resources and oversees the building of the new school. Even though he lives and studies in Bogota, he frequently returns to the Sierra Nevada to visit Sogromin to keep in touch with his people and monitor the advances of the school project. He recently descended from the Sierra Nevada to the nearby town of Valledupar where he has telephone and internet access and provided an update on the project.
After receiving the funds it took a few months to buy all the materials and to store them on an accessible location before they were transported up the mountain to Sogromin. Once all the materials were in place several members of the community gathered to collaborate with the construction. This kind of collaboration forms an important part of the Arhuaco culture. The labor began late November and as of today the main structure of the school building is almost completed.
The school project of Sogromin is made out of three phases consisting of;
- Rebuilding of two classrooms
- Building a new kitchen for the school
- Equipping the school with the necessary (library, clean energy, computers, etc)
As it stands now, the first phase of the project is almost fulfilled and there is still enough funds available to complete the building, including the windows, the doors and the roof. As soon as this is finished, the second phase of the project can commence; the building of the new school kitchen. In order to start with the second phase additional funds will be needed. Foundation Protect our Cultures is committed to help the community of Sogromin to complete this project and is therefore raising additional funds.
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