The small community of Rancho Escondido is high up in the mountains and can only be reached by 4-wheel drive trucks or dirt bikes. 24 families live here, most of which make a few dollars a day by working in the surrounding coffee fields. The area doesn’t have electricity yet and the only community building is the one-room classroom with no bathrooms, a rotting roof and cracked walls.
The classroom is small and dark for the 25 children that attend grades 1-6. Many of the boys are pulled from school to work in the fields at a young age, and the girls stay home to help take care of their younger brothers and sisters. Far from town, most kids do not attend secondary education.
The mayor and community met with SCW: Honduras director Karina Umana and came to an agreement that the municipality and SCW would provide part of the funding if the men in the community would agree to provide manual labor during construction. To do so they had to take turns and work together taking days off from their own jobs or volunteer before and after work. Local builders from a town an hour away were hired to lead the construction.
A large one-room classroom was built on the same site as the old school, with a beautiful view of the mountains below. The building was designed with large covered openings to let light and air flow through, while keeping animals out. Clear plastic skylights were added to the roof for additional natural lighting and electricity was added as the community plans to get access to electricity in the next ten years. Bathrooms, running water and a playground were also added.
This project was partially funded by the Costello family who was able to send three generations to help finish the build of the project; Anne, her son Kathan, and his niece Lauren. The volunteer team also consisted of Steve, Rachel and a trio from the SCW UCLA club, Malena, Subi and Troy.