A Colombian pastor and his wife moved to a small island called Bocachica to pastor an established church planted by missionaries in the 70s. The pastor soon identified a need for better education for the children on the island. In January, with the help of TeachBeyond, the church opened Gimnasio Cristiano de Bocachica. This new Christian school will strengthen the faith and provide education to transform the community’s quality of life.
Ed and Sarah Trussell, TeachBeyond members who serve at El Camino Academy in Bogota, Colombia, asked for help from the Helen Vaughn and the School Services department to consult with the missionary couple and a group of islanders as they launched the school, and to instruct its teachers in Christian educational methods. There are 14 students enrolled in grades Pre-K and Kindergarten, and the plan is to grow the school as the students advance from grade to grade. Day to day operations are funded from tuition, and startup costs have come from the church.
They currently are using classrooms at the Compassion International site in the community, and have purchased land for a school building. A team will be traveling to Bocachica from the U.S. in June or July to start building in partnership with a missionary in the community whose ministry is construction and clean water systems.
English language learning will be emphasized in the school in order to provide opportunities for graduates to work in the tourist industry on Bocachica and at the nearby resort city of Cartagena on the mainland of Colombia. The school is seeking an EFL teacher from North America. The other teachers are Colombians who grew up in the community or have moved there to work in the school.
TeachBeyond will maintain a long-term relationship with the school and walk alongside it as it grows. Missionaries serving in other parts of Colombia provide guidance and make frequent trips to the island to provide on-going professional development and support as the school grows and matures.
In Bocachica, education is transforming the future of its residents by instilling in students a love for God, modeling godly parenting to families, and providing a quality education to prepare students for better employment.