Students at Rushcliffe School are busy planning their fourth Esperanza Festival – a Latin American style extravaganza, which will raise money for impoverished students in Guatemala.
Last year Rushcliffe pupils raised £2,600 which has been used to fund the education of seven students aged 14 -16 at The School of Hope. The school was founded and is run by West Bridgford-based charity EFTC (Education for the Children).
The students in Year 9 at Rushcliffe have been learning about Guatemala as part of their studies in Spanish. They recently heard some worrying news about their peers in Guatemala:
“We were shocked to hear of a recent mudslide followed by an earthquake which has destroyed many of the students’ homes,” says Saeema Ali one of the students planning the Esperanza festival. “They live in shanty housing on a hillside, which is bad enough, but now even those homes are uninhabitable.
“The students at The School of Hope are our age but their lives are so hard, so we want to raise as much as we can to help them get a decent education and escape the cycle of poverty in that part of Guatemala. That’s why we call the festival ‘Esperanza,” as that is the Spanish word for ‘hope’.”
The money raised so far by Rushcliffe students has helped the seven Guatemalan students stay on track with their studies. It has also paid for nutritious meals, health checks and social support. This year, five of the group are moving into further education (their version of sixth form) which is quite an achievement in a country where many youngsters only manage two or three years of education.
This year’s ‘Esperanza’ event, will be held on Friday 14 July. It opens to the public at 3.30pm – 6pm, and the students are really hoping for a big turnout this year. There will be musical entertainment by pupils of Rushcliffe, Arnold Hill and Farnborough academies, refreshments, games, crafts, mocktails, inflatables and a literary cafe set up by the English department.
Rushcliffe School’s head of languages, Eva Vicente, said: “The whole school has been involved in this event and a lot of hard work and creativity has been involved. This year the Rushcliffe primary family of schools have also supported our work by teaching about Guatemala to their Y6 students as the Spanish transition module. Our Year 9 Language Leaders have even gone back to their old primary schools to tell Year 6 pupils all about the School of Hope and its work”