Safe Bathrooms In Cali Colombia

I help teach Engish at a high school on the far east side of Cali, in a neighborhood called Communeros. Insecurity runs rampant here, and most of my students live in extreme poverty. Still, they show up to school every day, ready, happy and excited to learn.

There is a massive problem with the bathrooms in my school. They’re old and dysfunctional. The toilets do not work, and they are dirty and trashed to the point that students hate using them. The school is understaffed, so a healthy hygiene culture is not enforced by teachers. Additionally, the boys use whatever bathrooms they please, and most stalls lack doors, so girls feel unsafe using the toilet. Rather than use the bathrooms, many girls just hold it in all day, which disrupts the learning process for students who cannot afford anymore distractions.

The latter points are cultural issues I am working with the student government, teachers and principal to address. But the former – the hygeine, the dysfunction – is due to a lack of resources. I have been working with students and my co-teacher, Monica, who is the project lead, on creating a plan to replace the toilets, hire cleaning help and budgeting for extra supplies, such as better lights and stall doors, to make the bathrooms safer spaces. (I am doing my homework, but if you know anything about making bathrooms safe spaces structurally, send me a message!)

The funding is where I come in. With so many causes in the USA demanding your money these days, I cannot help but feel a bit guilty asking folks back home for cash. But this cause is near and dear to my heart, since it impacts the students I work with every day here in Colombia. I love them, and I am dedicated to helping them thrive.

Before my official plea for your cash, I want to note there has been a large emphasis on global citizenship in my classes. My students have been exposed to the work of civil rights heroes, such as Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousefzai. We’ve also studied cases of everyday citizens making change in their communities.

This project was born from the assignments given in those classes. By donating, you will help inspire confidence in my students, and help them realize that they, too, can be catalysts for change in a community that desperately needs their leadership.

Please, anything you can spare toward this project – even just $5 – would be of huge help (the dollar goes far in Colombia)! When I depart at the end of November, the project will continue under Monica, the principal, the next English fellow, and, of course, the dedicated students involved in making their school community a better place.

Will you help me help these kids change the world today?

With love and gratitude, 

Miss Taylor
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Organizer

Taylor Harvey 
Organizer
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