Our Affiliated Project: The Gattorno School in Sucre, Bolivia

 

The following are quick facts about the Gattorno School:

  • Ages served: Girls: Kindergarten – twelfth grade, Boys: first-fifth grades
  • Facility description: The school building is a Spanish-style construction built around a large courtyard, which serves as a place for assemblies and ceremonies. The structure itself contains classrooms, a dining hall and other facilities.
  • Education: Children receive instruction in core academic subjects, as well as skills training in music, art, computers, drama, self-defense, Quechua (an indigenous language) and English.
  • Academic year: Typically begins in early February and ends in early December. Students enjoy summer break from mid-December through the end of January, and a two-week winter break in July.
  • Activities: The girls here enjoy plenty of outdoor recreational activities and sports, such as basketball and volleyball. The Gattorno School teams consistently win championships. Graduates from this school enter society well prepared academically, culturally and physically.
  • Higher learning: After graduation, most students attend the State University for various majors. Some attend local English institutes or private colleges if their grades are good enough.

The small, landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises rugged Andes Mountains and vast, high-altitude plateaus to the west (including a portion of Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world) and lush, lowland plains of Amazon jungle to the east. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and resources, Bolivia bears the scars of centuries of conflict, beginning with the Spanish conquistadors and followed by almost 200 years of wars and internal military coups. Political and economic instability have brought about considerable poverty, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime and disease. Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital, retains much of the flavor of Spanish colonialism, including many buildings erected by the conquistadors and the second-oldest university in Latin America. However, it is no exception to the poverty that plagues the rest of the nation.

For this reason, the Gattorno School serves as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community. Founded in 1882 by the Catholic Order of the Daughters of St. Anne, this prestigious school has long been a place where impoverished children of Sucre receive an education in a safe and supportive environment. The Sisters here strive to provide for the children’s immediate basic and educational needs so that students may rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come and break the cycle of poverty.