The 2019 Global Competitive Index of the World Economic Forum ranked the overall skills of Paraguay’s future work force at No. 108 out of 141 countries.
That’s because first-grade teachers in Paraguay confront an impossible task. Not even in the U.S. would a teacher be asked to handle 60 students – especially when more than 50% suffer abuse at home. The need for top-down reform is clear but will take decades to implement. Meanwhile, kids get trapped in a cycle of illiteracy, violence, and discouragement – and often take the blame for problems beyond their control.
Kids Need Us – But We Also Need Them
As Big Agriculture and economic inequality intensifies rural-urban migration, parents who haven’t studied beyond third grade struggle to keep up with the new economy. They don’t have the time or skills to help their kids.
The good news is that 4th-6th-grade children do.
In our pilot program, 10 Kid Teachers volunteered a total of 529 hours. They came into school to work with younger children in their time off. When school was closed due to teacher strikes or cold weather, the Kid Teachers marched around their community to find young kids to read with. In the process, they changed their students and changed themselves.
Developing children with potential into Kid Teachers has been the low-hanging fruit. Many kids are already talented and motivated – all they need is a grown-up to tell them they can do it.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
-Teachers described him as disobedient and wild, but didn’t have time to dig deeper into this amazing fifth-grade boy’s potential. As a Kid Teacher, Tiago has done a behavioral 180, becoming a role model who cares for younger children and animals at home and at school.
Do you believe in the power of kids like Tiago? Gift a child the opportunity of a lifetime.