Hundreds of children in Barrio Nelson Mandela, a low-income neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia, have benefited from innovative educational solutions developed and implemented by Tenaris’s TuboCaribe Foundation. With most schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AfterSchool program now delivers development activities for children virtually and ensures access to educational materials through partnerships with a local library and convenience stores.
To ensure maximum reach to approximately 350 kids who benefit from the program, the foundation set up a homework distribution and collection center at a local neighborhood store. Parents without Internet access at home or without a reliable phone signal can pick up printouts for their children and return them the following week.
Monica Estévez, educational projects coordinator at the TenarisTuboCaribe Foundation, explains, “The objective is to reach the largest possible number of people while reinforcing the subjects covered in the classroom so that children don’t get behind in their education.”
The neighborhood store also serves as a de-facto library center thanks to a partnership between Tenaris and a local library. Parents can order, check out and return books from the Sister Elfride Library by visiting the Negazuqui store. Strict safety protocols have been developed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Social distancing rules are enforced, and every returned book is quarantined for 48 hours.
Internet connectivity is a major obstacle to online learning in low-income areas. In addition to printed materials, the AfterSchool program now actively uses mobile data, which can be a viable alternative for parents like Sara Tapia, whose daughter Zharick receives assignments from instructors and sends them back via WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application. “Thanks to the AfterSchool program, Zharick can stay up to speed on her schoolwork,” shares Tapia. “She is really happy and is always waiting for the next task to arrive from her teacher. This helps her to feel like she is actually in a class.”
The AfterSchool program in Colombia is one of many initiatives by Tenaris to advance education and development in local communities. According to Tenaris’s 2019 Sustainability Report, in 2019 alone, over 27,500 students benefited from such programs globally.
To learn more about company’s sustainability efforts and to download your copy of the 2019 Sustainability Report, please visit https://www.tenaris.com/en/sustainability/.