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OAS and Virtual Educa Open School for Displaced Children on Colombia-Venezuela Border

  September 17, 2015

The Organization of American States (OAS) and its educational program Virtual Educa today opened the first PopUp School for displaced children affected by the situation on the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, emphasized that “access to the rights of children is a priority for the Organization of American States. The opening of this school and the other classrooms planned are very good examples of what we want to do – concrete actions on the ground that reflect our slogan ´More rights for more people.´

The school, built in 24 hours on the grounds of the Juan Frio Agricultural Institute, contains 20 laptop computers and a virtual screen, will initially serve 64 Colombian and Venezuelan children, and will function as a center of educational resources for the entire community in the municipality of Villa del Rosario, in the department of Norte de Santander in Colombia. The Department of Education of the Government of Norte de Santander and the National Unit for Risk Management and Disasters of the Government of Colombia established a system of transportation to take the children from the shelters where they are being housed to the school.

The initiative, led by Secretary General Almagro, the Secretary General of Virtual Educa, José María Antón, and Colombian authorities, includes the participation of teachers and technical experts in educational issues. The project is expected to expand shortly to another three classrooms in the same region.

The Adviser to the Secretary General of the OAS for Access to Rights and Equality, Ideli Salvatti, added that “we are determined to work to guarantee the rights of children and all people. In this case, the right of access to education without interruption.”

For his part, the Secretary General of Virtual Educa, José María Antón, presented the PopUp School, which he called “an effort by people looking to do the right thing.” In addition, he announced that “we will build more centers in the region, driven by the belief that education is vital in special context like the current situation.”

The Governor of Norte de Santander, Edgar Díaz, thanked the OAS for the support and added that “we applaud these concrete actions.” Also present at the opening was the Director of the National Unit for Risk Management and Disasters of the Government of Colombia, Carlos Iván Márquez and the Colombian Foreign Ministry Delegate, Victor Bautista. During the visit of Salvatti, the OAS and the Government of Norte de Santander agreed on the opening of three technological centers in other municipalities of the region to support more schools.

Photos of the school are available here.

Reference: E-236/15