We're supporting 12,000 students in A Coruña with the "Aquí También" programme, in collaboration with Ayuda en Acción01.06.2022
The Repsol Foundation is working alongside Ayuda en Acción on the "Aquí También" initiative in the A Coruña province. The programme began in 2014 during a financial crisis with the aim of fostering educational and social inclusion and equal opportunities in childhood, adolescence, and in vulnerable families. The programme, which is developed along with seven participating public schools, has benefited 12,000 people over the past eight years.
The initiative has slowly expanded over the past seven school years, first taking place in just three schools in A Coruña and eventually spreading to seven urban and rural schools in the cities of A Coruña, Arteixo, and Monfero. The majority have been primary schools, although for the past two years a secondary school has also participated.
Both institutions participated in a ceremony to recognize the involvement and participation of the seven schools in the initiative: CEIP San Xosé Obreiro, CEIP María Babeito e Cerviño, CEIP Raquel Camacho, IES Rafael Dieste, CEIP Emilia Pardo Bazán, CPI Virxe da Cela, and CEIP San Pedro de Visma in A Coruña, where the event was organised along with other environmental activities. The headmistress of the school, Dolores Catoira, welcomed the participants to the event and thanked both foundations for having joined forces to establish such initiatives that have driven equal opportunities and social inclusion in the community.
Giving thanks for the warm welcome to the school, Marta Marañón Medina, Director of Institutional Relations at Ayuda en Acción, highlighted the hard work carried out in A Coruña though the strategic partnership with the Repsol Foundation "to meet the specific needs that have arisen at each school by providing a response using tools and activities that have incentivised social inclusion in vulnerable contexts and by focusing on ensuring that no one has been left behind, even through the worst of the pandemic."
At the end of the event, Mar de Andrés, director of the social and volunteering area at the Repsol Foundation, pointed out the work performed in collaboration with Ayuda en Acción at the participating schools. "We are very proud of this initiative that has been able to improve the quality of life of many children in at-risk situations by reducing inequalities and increasing their opportunities," she added.
During the school visit that followed the event, attendees learned more about the student-developed activities such as organizing a student radio show, painting murals, caring for chickens, and of course, growing the school garden, which also depended on maintenance and gardening help from Repsol Volunteers from the Repsol A Coruña refinery.
8 years supporting schools in A Coruña
The programme has evolved by adapting itself to the socioeconomic context of the school communities. In this way, the very first focus was to cover the basic and fundamental needs of those students from vulnerable families through a grant for free breakfast and lunch at school, as well as by providing footwear for the winter and for sports activities.
This was also complemented with training in healthy habits and the issuance of school books and materials.
Additionally, in an aim to achieve equal opportunities and facilitate social cohesion, the programme also provides after-school excursions, foreign language training, and online tools for improving students' language and maths skills.
Especially notable were the trainings held at the "Parents School" with the aim of getting the families more involved in the schools in order to try to build a network of mutual support that would help to bridge the gap that a situation of vulnerability can sometimes provoke between parents and educators.
Additional, and no less important, activities include theatre and radio workshops. These initiatives improve students' skills, their social cohesion, and educational development and contribute to reducing disaffection in schools and thereby encourage permanence in the education system.
As in all contexts, the spread of COVID-19 also had a bearing on the project; yet faced with this social emergency during the pandemic, the Repsol Foundation and Ayuda en Acción doubled down on their commitment to those most vulnerable. Prepaid food cards were given to 99 families, tablets were provided for 127 families so that school-aged children could continue their studies, and COVID-prevention material was passed out to more than 1,600 students in three schools.
Finally, it's important to highlight the work performed by 43 volunteers from the Repsol A Coruña refinery during two years of the "Repsol International Volunteer Week" through workshops centred around SDGs 2 and 4, in addition to painting playgrounds with vibrant colours to encourage students' positive cohabitation and social cohesion, which benefited 1,263 students from three schools. This year, some of these volunteers showed up to help with gardening work.
The partnership has achieved the following milestones over the past six years:
Healthy life conditions:
- Grants for free meals at school canteens to 86 students at 3 schools.
- Mid-morning snacks for 4,026 students at 5 schools.
- Training in cooking and healthy habits for 75 students at 1 school.
Educational inclusion for vulnerable groups:
- Child footwear (for rain and sports) to 20 students at 1 school.
- Textbooks and educational material to 3,288 students at 5 schools.
- Grants for field trips and cultural excursions to 2,282 students at 5 schools.
- Training and workshops in English, swimming, maths, music, arts and crafts, theatre and body language, poetry, zumba, dance, and science experiments for 826 students at 2 schools.
Innovation and educational success:
- Online licenses for programmes to improve maths and language skills for 2,128 students at 4 schools.
- STEAM educational material used by 1,120 students at 1 school.
- Training to create a school radio, with a focus on education in social and environmental values, for 483 students at 2 schools.
- Projects for school gardens and chicken coops, with a focus on environmental sustainability and healthy habits for 4,708 students at 3 schools.
- Reading encouragement with volunteers for 8 students at 1 school.
Working with families:
- Workshops and presentations to get parents more involved in their children's education on topics such as personal care and hygiene, basic computer training, cooking, sewing, social media and cyber-harassment, healthy nutrition, the Autism spectrum, positive discipline, the transition from Primary to Secondary school, and more, for 296 families in A Coruña.
- The strong 8-year establishment of the partnership allowed it to react efficiently to the pandemic by providing prepaid food cards and healthcare products to 99 families at 4 schools.
- It also provided tablets and other computer devices to 127 families at 6 schools so that students could continue their studies during lockdown and subsequent quarantines.
- nd 3 schools were given assistance to purchase COVID-19 prevention materials such as hand sanitiser, masks, signage, and more, benefiting 1,634 students.