In March, the Trans Global Executive MBA (T-GEMBA) Cohort 5 went on their global immersion trip to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Students had the opportunity to assist a low income school on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, as part of the social service management experience. Fundacion Nordelta is an elementary school located in the slums that are across the street from a gated upper-class residential community. The disparity between the two neighborhoods is highlighted by the barbed wire fence that is attached to the cement wall dividing the two worlds. Even so, the school whose principal is a woman of saintly qualities, empowers her staff and the community to see that her children are taken care of. The wealthy community donates to a monthly “yard sale” hosted by the school, which includes clothing, toys, books and other items that the poorer community can afford. The sale of the items benefit the school. The T-GEMBA participants assisted Principal Gabriela with this event and were able to mingle with the children, visit them in the classrooms and offer some much needed labor to set up the sales items.
After the event, the T-GEMBA students met for lunch in one of the classrooms. At this time, they spontaneously and mutually decided to match the funds that were raised that day so that one of classrooms could be upgraded with brand new desks and chairs. They also discussed how we could assist the school further once they returned to the states. They surprised Gabriela with their contribution. She was ecstatic and told them that one of the classrooms would be upgraded done in honor of Saint Mary’s College of California. Less than 2 months has past and the room has been upgraded with red tables and chairs and new blue paint for the walls, truly a Saint Mary’s classroom! The T-GEMBA students are continuing to works on ways to improve these school children’s daily academic experience, even from afar.
Below are the before and after pictures of the classroom. (Note: they made sure to have the red and blue colors in honor of Saint Mary's College of California's colors!).