New computer center gives Palomas students access to modern technology

new computer center

This new computer center Border Partners facilitated will give Palomas elementary students access to modern computers for the first time.

Border Partners is providing and installing twelve computers at the Ramon Espinoza (morning) and Ignacio Zaragoza (afternoon) school building in Palomas.  With this new technology equipment, the schools will create a computer center that both institutions will share.  This brand new computer center complements our work of donating and installing computers for education at the third primary school in Palomas, Ford School.

This will be the first time students at any of the elementary schools in Palomas have had access to up-to-date computers.

The computers for the new computer center were donated by UNICOR, a U.S. Government corporation established by Congress in 1934. UNICOR employs and provides job skills training to inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. One of their operations is to refurbish used computers.

Ten elementary classrooms in Palomas will receive their first computer

Andrew Slade of UNICOR (left) presents ten computers for education to Border Partners co-director Peter Edmunds at an Earth Day event in Silver City, NM.

Border Partners co-director Peter Edmunds at an Earth Day event in Silver City, NM.

Ten computers are ready for delivery to Palomas elementary school classrooms that presently have no computer at all.  This big step forward for education is the result of a donation Border Partners received on April 21 at the Earth Day recycling event in Silver City, New Mexico.

Bill Charland, Border Partners’ board member, arranged this donation with Andrew Slade from UNICOR. This government agency operates a recycling program that collects unwanted computers, evaluating them to determine whether they can be refurbished or broken down into component parts for reprocessing.  Some of this work is carried out by federal prisoners.

Border Partners’ goal is to put at least one computer in each of the town’s 35 elementary classrooms during 2012. We are very grateful to Andrew Slade and UNICOR for helping us toward meeting this goal with their generous contributions.

Making life better for Palomas tweens and teens

by Peter Edmunds, Border Partners cofounder and board member

some Palomas secondaria students

Palomas students will have a secure place to eat now.

I’m forming the impression that the Mexican government’s vision of running a school system is at best rather strange. They build the buildings and pay the teachers (poorly, at that). But then they contribute little else.  And certainly they don’t provide much money for supplies (like paper) or any other learning necessities. Nevertheless, a visit to the secundaria (middle school), Technica 25, in Palomas always inspires and informs me.

Better yet, Border Partners was able to provide them some little helps recently:

  • For $30 each we added RAM to about half of the school’s computers, and
  • for $4.60 each we’re ordering bulbs for their overhead projectors. Again: The government provided the machines, but the school has no budget for projector repairs. And the bulbs aren’t even sold in Mexico. Now that the projectors will function again, the Silver City schools are giving us eight more overhead projectors to pass along to the secondaria.

I saved the best help for last …… the new school lunch room!

This formerly one-walled structure was once a garage for the school’s collection of dead buses. But the 40′ by 60’ building has three new walls now as well as a repaired and insulated roof. New windows will be installed soon.

The secret component in all this accomplishment is the teachers. They’re doing the construction work– building the walls, repairing the roof, installing the roof–in addition to their regular teaching duties.

The community raised the money for the construction themselves: by hosting bake sales and contests, as well as collecting, baling, hauling and selling about 15 tons of cardboard.

They’d like to add a plywood ceiling in the building. That would cost $1,000.00. And they’d also like to paint the walls. I hope they do a nice mural using some of the miss-mixed paint local paint stores often donate to us.

Peter Edmunds

Peter Edmunds

In this season of celebration and decoration, we give thanks for these four walls and roof in Palomas.

And we are grateful for our supporters whose contributions allow us to help the secondaria teachers build a lunchroom for their students.