Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer in El Salvador

HIPPY El Salvador team role playing the curriculum

This summer I had the opportunity to visit HIPPY in El Salvador. The program is sponsored by the Hilda Rothschild Foundation and is implemented from the community of Joya Grande and serves several communities around Lake Ilopango. The program in Joya Grande includes a Montessori preschool, afterschool enrichment, a bakery and the HIPPY program.

I had the opportunity to see home visits and conduct training with the staff of home visitors and coordinators (pictured above). My daughter Sofia came with me and volunteered in the classroom, bakery and observed HIPPY in action.

It was so interesting to see how similar HIPPY works across the world! More interesting still are the differences! listed below:

  • **None of the home visitors have cars and walk to all home visits, including some that are up mountainous trails! To get from the central office back to their community they often hitch a ride with sand trucks that are mining the sand at the lake for use in construction sites in the city.

  • **Once home visits are finished for the day, the home visitors sell bread from the bakery that financially sustains the project.

  • **Families live in multi-generation family compounds and home visits are often conducted before a small audience of children and relatives.

  • **Curriculum materials are the most expensive part of implementing the program (unlike the US program in which salaries are the costliest part).

  • **The HIPPY office is in an open air corridor (see picture above).

I look forward some day to returning to El Salvador and supporting the project as it expands throughout the country. For now, we will maintain contact by email and hopefully the Salvadoran team will be allowed visas to come to the bi-annual HIPPY conference.

Finished with home visits, time to sell bread!