Completed 2019 Magazines Sustainable Soul - Page 6

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When we first walked into the Sustainability & Education Center, the first thing we noticed were big colorful letters spelling out “Welcome Academy of the Sacred Heart”. The students had taken time to decorate each letter and string it across the top of the room to form a giant banner. To say we received a warm welcome is an understatement.

The Sustainability & Education Center is run by EKOAMAZON (a nonprofit located in the US) and is helping to change the lives of young Peruvians everyday. The Center focuses on literacy because many of the children may never learn to read or write at the appropriate age level. Literacy is the focus of the Center because it is the basis of all education.

As we took our seats around the wooden tables and among the many children, we felt the importance of the Center and its mission. More than just providing the skills to progress academically, the Center boasts a community of eager young minds who are excited to learn in any capacity. There were tons of children reading, coloring, playing music, and interacting with each other and us. The Center is teaming with curiosity and a desire to learn. Each of those children were there out of choice, not because it was an obligation.

We live in a society where we view school as a burden, as a necessity to get from point A to point B. These children, who quickly became our friends, showed us that school is a gift. Reading and writing are gifts that we take for granted each day. Laptops and textbooks are gifts that we do not appreciate enough. And opportunities to go around the world are gifts. As we built relationships, it became clear that though we were helping to teach the kids, they were teaching us so much more.

The Center is a beautiful place, surrounded by life both inside and out. We are immensely thankful that we could experience its beauty and learn from its patrons.

SUSTAINABILITY & EDUCATION CENTER

That welcome banner stayed up the whole week, reminding us of the community and people that we encountered. It served as a symbol of two groups of people connecting and merging into a community of happiness and learning, and for that we are eternally grateful.