Photo: From left to right Agusto Donaire, Jorbin Baquedano, Fany Osejo, Mario Rivas. These young people were able to attend the Afterschool Program every day for five years.

When the Afterschool Program was started almost 12 years ago in the community of Goyena, we knew that it would be a challenge for all involved. In the socio-economic context that the community is located, they lack basic necessities. For many parents who never attended school or managed to enter but did not finish even primary school, the main need is to provide families with daily food, and for this the support of their children was fundamental. With large families and few decent employment opportunities, the only option for fathers and mothers was to work in the cane and peanut plantations. The older children are often taken to help them in the fields and the girls stay at home taking care of the younger children.

However, with the commitment of all and trainings for parents, the Afterschool Program has been a great help for both children and parents. In the Program, they are helped to do their homework, have fun and learn from the teachers, participate in a lunch program. Through the Program, parents and children were convinced that education is the main tool for personal development and for the community as a whole.

The four young people in the photo – after attending the Afterschool Program every day for five years – finished high school in 2016. For many of us living in urban areas this would not be a special achievement, but just a further step in our process to achieve higher education. However for many of these young people, staying in school has meant many sacrifices. For them it has not been so simple, and many of their friends who are their own age, already work, have children and have failed to finish their primary education.

In the years they attended the Afterschool Program, their parents were also involved in order to raise awareness of the importance of education. This work had positive results since they all managed to finish secondary school and currently intend to enter the public university.