If you were to describe the interior of the Safe Passage buildings in one word, what would that one word be?
For many, that word is contrast.
Outside Safe Passage walls, the harsh reality of the Guatemala City garbage dump is evident in mountains of waste, impoverished neighborhoods, and bleak landscapes.
And yet, as soon as you step into any of the buildings in which our students learn, that harsh world is transformed into a colorful, vibrant, clean, and welcoming environment.
From the owl mural at the Learning, Art, and Fun Center to the therapeutic garden spaces at both our Early Childhood Education Center (Escuelita) and main school building, we hope to provide an oasis in which students can focus on educational development rather than environmental distractions.
This year, we brought new contrast to our buildings by painting vivid colors on nearly every surface. Now, the interiors are even more smile-inducing.
Each classroom is painted with the same shades of light blue and gray to instill a sense of peace. At the main building, the columns along the hallways each feature one of our school values including love, responsibility, and teamwork.
Each column, similar to the exterior walls, is paired with a specific color so that students can better associate those colors with the values that they represent. The columns also feature an animal that exemplifies it’s value, including a lion for courage and an elephant for responsibility. Each week, students select and practice a new value, and they work to embody those values each day.
The use of color may be one small step towards a more inviting, welcoming, and cheerful learning environment, but that one small step can make a big difference in the lives of our children.
So, how would you describe the interior of the Safe Passage buildings in one word?