The founders of WHI believe strongly in the value of education. Two of the major thrusts of WHI’s activities has been and will continue to be removing barriers to educational opportunities and improving learning conditions for the children in Cobani. Our focus has been on assisting the elementary and secondary schools, the kindergarten/daycare, and the children’s library.
In the summer of 2016 WHI contributed to bring running water into the new cafeteria for the local school. Earlier in 2016 year a decision was made by local authorities to consolidate students studying in several buildings into two buildings and now all K-12 students study in the same buildings in two shifts. In order to get approval from the government, the school administration had to convert some classrooms into the new cafeteria. Since the previous classrooms weren’t equipped with running water in order to serve as a cafeteria, the school principal has asked us to contribute toward the expenses to bring running water into the cafeteria. We were able to cover a portion of those expenses and the work was finalized in time for the start of the school year. The school now has a cafeteria with running water that the cooks can use for preparing meals and washing dishes and students can use instead of running outside to the well to get water. On an interesting note, both the students and the teachers still have to use outhouses!
For the previous several years, the principal of the Cobani schools had been asking us for assistance with the purchase of tables and chairs for the cafeteria used by the elementary school students. The existing furniture was over 35 years old and had been used in other places before it was transferred to the elementary school. Many of the tables and chairs were broken and dangerous for the students to use. During the summer of 2015, we were able to cover 70% of the total cost of the tables and chairs. Here is a message from the school principal:
On behalf of our children, parents and entire educational personnel, I would like to express our thanks to WHI for their efforts to assist us with the purchase of the tables and chairs for the school cafeteria. We would like to let you know that at the present time the new tables and chairs will be used to feed 84 elementary school children (grades 1-4) and the new furniture is of a much higher quality compared with the old and it is much more comfortable for the students.
Thank you again for this donation and for all the previous donations that have contributed to the improvement of the learning conditions of our students.
Cobani School Principal.
In addition, in 2015 we donated educational supplies to the daycare/kindergarten in Cobani which more than 80 children attend. The children, teachers and other personnel at this educational establishment were very thankful for the donation, giving them a better chance of growing and learning.
The previous year we were approached by the teacher who teaches arts and craft classes at Cobani High School to assist them with the purchase of materials and tools for the arts and crafts classes. During the summer of this year we were able to assist them with their needs in this area. First, we covered the expenses to refurbish a room in the school into a classroom for arts and crafts classes (the school covered the expenses for the materials and WHI covered the labor cost). In addition, we purchased a variety of tools and materials that are used by the students in their arts and crafts classes. We were encouraged by this project because this project could become a foundation some small businesses in Cobani. As Moldova is attempting to develop rural tourism, the students who learned various skills in these arts and crafts classes could start small businesses and sell their crafts to tourists. Another benefit of this project is that the majority of the inputs used by the students in producing the arts and crafts are used from the local plants.
In the summer of 2013, WHI contributed to the improvement of the conditions of the Cobani High School. For the first time in the history of Cobani schools, students will have access to running drinking water. WHI contributed to the purchasing of all the required supplies and materials to bring running water into one of the school buildings. This way students will have an improvement in the hygiene of students where they will have both cold and hot water to wash their hands. The students, teachers and the maintenance personnel are extremely thankful for the new improvements to the school.
In the spring of 2012, 50 students from low income families received school supplies that were sufficient for them to do well in school for the second half of the academic year 2011-12. In addition, WHI purchased a table for table tennis that will be used by the high school students after the regular school hours and 10 volleyballs that will be used during the physical education classes and for volleyball practices. Both of these purchases were very timely as many students don’t have any occupation after the school hours and this will provide them with opportunities to engage various activities after the regular school hours. In addition, the school received 50 various dictionaries (10 Romanian-English and 10 Romanian-French), 10 globes and 10 atlases for the geography classes.
During the summer of 2012 WHI purchased 20 desks for the computer lab in the school. This was a very timely, donation as the ministry of education of Moldova was threatening to close the computer lab if the administration of the school didn’t find new desks. Also, WHI contributed to the purchase of 20 desks and 40 chairs for students who were transferred from another village to Cobani High School. These two donations again were very timely donations as without WHI’s contributions, the computer lab would have been closed and students could have the computer science courses and the new transfer students wouldn’t have had a place to study. We received many thanks from the students and from the school administration regarding these donations.
After almost 50 years the students at Cobani High School can safely practice sports on the new floor in their gymnasium. During our visit to Moldova in 2009, the principal of Cobani High School indicated the most urgent need at the school was to replace the gym floor. The floor was installed in 1964 and although there were many repairs over the years, it was still in very poor condition. By the end of the 2010 school year the floor was unsafe to use. Since this facility is used for a variety of purposes including physical education classes, sports competitions, drama, school wide gatherings and dances, not one student would be untouched by the renovations.
So, during the summer of 2010 WHI purchased the necessary materials for the floor and covered the expenses for the transportation of the materials to be assembled. The school administration and the community covered the labor costs and other miscellaneous expenses. The students and the administration of the school were extremely grateful for the new floor. In addition, WHI purchased six maps for geography classes. The maps that the students had been using were more than 30 years old and were outdated.
WHI assisted the school in Cobani by purchasing 40 desks and 40 chairs for the elementary school. In addition, WHI purchased 25 books for the school library and 10 English-Romanian dictionaries. The total amount spent for the Cobani schools was almost $2000.
At the request of the kindergarten/daycare administrative staff, WHI purchased 80 sets of bedding, 80 towels, two carpets for classrooms, 30 meters of carpet for hallways, 46 meters of drapes, 80 communication textbooks, 50 language (alphabet) textbooks and 40 mathematics textbooks. Two final purchases included a collection of toys and a vacuum cleaner — the first ever in the history of the kindergarten. The total amount spent on projects for the kindergarten/daycare amounted to close to $1900.
WHI completely furnished a classroom for 30 students at the kindergarten by purchasing five handmade tables and 30 handmade chairs for $800 USD from a new business venture in Moldova as well as carpet and curtains for the same classroom. In addition, WHI purchased educational materials for all classes and, at the request of the kindergarten’s director, another carpet for one of the entryways. Working with the mayor’s office, WHI identified eleven children whose parents could not afford to pay the attendance fee for the kindergarten and then paid the fee for these children to attend the kindergarten from August 1 through December 31, 2008. The fee was $7.30 USD per month or $0.33 UD per day and for this fee the children are fed three times per day and participate in various educational activities.
During the summer of 2008, WHI purchased books for the children’s library to update their collection. The majority of the books haven’t been renewed for the past 20 years and the majority of the books were published more than 20 years ago with an alphabet that is no longer used in Moldova. WHI learned that this library receives only $100 USD every year from the city budget to purchase new books. At the request of the head librarian, WHI purchased several new English dictionaries and other books worth over $100 USD.