Annual Activities Report 2017

Letter from the president

Dear Friends,

I have always believed that children deserve a better future and the possibility to live in a world that can protect them from all kinds of dangers. Ensuring access to quality education, health and nutrition are key to creating a better future for children in need.  For nearly 12 years, through the Pistorio Foundation, we have worked with dedication to do what was necessary to create contexts where children could thrive through access to a good education despite their underprivileged backgrounds.

I wish to thank all the supporters that decided to join our cause also this year as we are continuously making the difference for all those children we have been able to reach. Together, since the beginning of our activities, we have been able to provide over 3.500 underprivileged children with access to school, basic health care, and nutrition;  513 students have successfully completed Professional School; over 45 school and village infrastructure projects have been completed; and we have positively impacted over 32 village communities with our actions.

Such results require effective and efficient management of all the resources available. We are grateful to all the stakeholders that have helped us reach these targets, and in particular, our board members, partners, volunteers and donors who have always been supporting us along this journey.

We have achieved so much along the years for children in need, but there is still so much more to do! Therefore, we invite all our friends to continue to support our shared cause – granting what every child deserves: a better and brighter future.

Together, we can meet the challenge of helping children improve their lives and thereby also those of their families and communities catalysing long term and lasting change.

Sincerely,
Pasquale Pistorio

Our Identity

 

The Pistorio Foundation is a non profit organisation created in 2005 to protect the basic right of every child to have access to a good quality education, considering it as a precondition for solid social development, in all contexts with specific attention to the most unprivileged ones.

Through education, children acquire the tools needed to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

With this deep belief and conviction, we do our best to give our students better chances in life, supporting their long term schooling from pre-school until professional school level, fostering their growth for a higher quality of life and brighter future perspectives.

The achievements we have reached till now are the result of the systemic approach we use in the intervention areas that bring us working together with our partners, volunteers and local resources, while keeping a close eye on the impact, efficacy, and efficiency of our actions.

OUR JOURNEY SO FAR

OUR JOURNEY SO FAR

 

Our Mission and Approach

Our Mission and Approach

 

Throughout 2017, the Foundation has continued the implementation of its programs in the key intervention areas. In our daily activities we continuously offer the needed support to our beneficiaries so that they can have access to a good quality education in primary, secondary and vocational or professional schools. The feedback we receive from our network of partners, trainers, local staff, beneficiaries and communities confirm that we are going in the right direction and that we are able to make the difference for the people we reach.

Our approach is based on a holistic village model that together with the scholarship programs empowers our beneficiaries and their communities for a more sustainable future.

Our Mission

The motto of Pistorio Foundation is “On the way to school, on the way to life.” On the basis of this concept we have elaborated our daily mission which is to improve the living conditions of children in the poorest communities, where there is the greatest need, with a key focus on education.  Following this strong belief, the Pistorio Foundation has been able to provide scholarships to over 3.500 children, while over 513 students have completed their schooling from primary to professional school, obtaining a professional school diploma.

The Village Approach

The starting point of the Village Approach is to give access to education to all children of a given community with a particular focus on the most unprivileged and marginalised groups such as those  in remote rural areas.

The Pistorio Foundation will not only provide education to its direct beneficiaries, but it will also take care of the needs of the village by providing ad hoc health, hygiene and agricultural programs that can promote the well-being of the entire community, helping it to grow in a sustainable way.

We partner with local communities and begin by managing the key issues and challenges in education and health for children and subsequently help improve the creation of necessary village infrastructures that can support stronger development, such as the set up of clean water systems or health posts. In these villages, the school becomes the centre of interactions of villagers.  In school, children learn on one side what is needed for their academic path and at the same time what can be useful to know on growing their own food,  on collaborating with their peers, and on improving the quality of life of the community as a whole through better hygiene practices, for example.  Through the school, the whole community can be both engaged in their children’s education, as well as learn at the school how to improve the entire village’s living conditions. Every school is equipped with kitchen, canteen, and sanitation facilities, and students learn basic rules of proper hygiene.  These lessons are also imparted to parents of beneficiaries.  The quality meal students receive in school at lunch time helps maintain a good level of nutrition for children of underprivileged families, ensuring them better health and development.  This relieves families in part of the burden of both providing for their children’s education as well as food during the day, and further motivates parents to send their children to school. In this way, a kind of “hub” at the school and virtuous cycle is created where parents can appreciate the value of education and thereby become more involved in the support of their child’s schooling and hence partake in their children’s successful competition of school.

The two key pillars of the village approach are the following:

  • Scholarship Program which provides school age children everything they need to succeed in school including transport to school, school supplies, uniforms, school meals, yearly medical check-ups, and dormitory fees if their schools are far away from their homes;
  • Infrastructure Program which aims at building and improving school infrastructures to ensure a better environment for learning. Moreover, where possible, we also try to encourage gardening and agriculture activities at schools to teach children how to grow and harvest crops that can also be used by the school canteen by village families.

Education

Despite the huge progress of the last few years, there are still too many children who see their rights to education denied day after day. Education is a fundamental human right as clearly stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1] and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [2]. Every child has the right to quality education in order to optimise his or her chances in life to build a brighter future.

Education has to be seen as one of the most powerful instruments capable of reducing poverty while boosting economic development and increasing incomes. In fact, education increases the chances every person has of having a healthy life while promoting equality, and with it a more solid democratic context.

Hence, education must be recognised as an essential tool for the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. Specifically, Global Goal 4 on education aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” [3]..

Investing in education with a particular focus on the early childhood schooling, can bring the highest returns. Children who have access to quality education earlier in their life can achieve better results along their school path, and thereby promote more positive outcomes later on, such as attaining higher levels of education and secure better chances of employment and higher salaries.  Education needs to become the buzzword for every society that wants to ensure a stable, equal and shared development.

[1] For further details: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

[2] For further details: https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/

[3] For further details: http://www.globalgoals.org/global-goals/quality-education/

Governance

The values of transparency, integrity, and commitment to our mission guide the activity of the Foundation. The implementation of the mission is ensured by the constant presence and support of the following stakeholders:

  1. Board of Directors and the Director of Operations define the strategy and provide specific guidelines to the organisation;
  2. Country managers work on the field managing projects directly and reporting their progress to the Headquarters, as well coordinating relations with local partners, institutions and government bodies;
  3. Volunteers support the Foundation carrying out different tasks such as conducting filed missions to audit projects, updating communication material, and supporting fundraising activities.

Organisational Structure of Pistorio Foundation

Organisational Structure of Pistorio Foundation

 

2017 at a glance

Key Results

1.     Beneficiaries

  • Students on Scholarship: 1.253 direct beneficiaries
  • Students who completed Professional School: 38 students

2.     Investments:

  • 2017 Investment Budget: 174.174 Euro
  • 2017 Overhead Costs (legal/auditing/banking fees): 19.257 Euro (11% of Total Budget)

Interventions areas

Thailand
Context and challenges

Over the last 40 years, Thailand has made significant progress in social and economic development, moving from a low-income to an upper-income country in less than a generation. As a direct consequence, poverty has decreased steadily and in 30 years it has dropped from 67% to 7.2% in 2015.  However, poverty and inequality continue to pose significant challenges. In fact, as of 2014, over 80% of the country’s 7.1 million poor lived in rural areas and an additional 6.7 million were living within only 20% above the poverty line and remained vulnerable to falling back into poverty. As a result, growing disparities in household income and consumption characterise specific regions of the country with large pockets of poverty remaining in the Northeast, North and South. The right to education is still baffled for children living in these areas and children of ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees, who live in impoverished remote regions

Pistorio Foundation’s presence in the country

Chiang Rai Village Project

The Pistorio Foundation decided launch a project in Thailand in 2006 with the aim of helping unprivileged hill tribe children from remote villages, living in conditions of extreme poverty.  The Chiang Rai Village Project was the first concrete step taken in the country by the Foundation, to allow children in need to access quality education and to improve the living conditions of communities through the sustainable development of the entire village. The project is the key activity of the Pistorio Foundation and illustrates our holistic village approach, through which we do not only provide education to children, but we also contribute to the creation of village infrastructures that can foster the entire community’s growth and well-being so that it can become self-sufficient in the medium to long term and provide autonomously for future generations.

The presence of Pistorio Foundation in the country has strengthened year after year. Since the inception of the program, we have been able to support over 3.000 hill-tribe minority children, supplying them, through the scholarship program, school materials, meals, medical checkups, transportation to school, and school fees as well as dormitory expenses where needed. In parallel, we have worked to improve school infrastructures and  general awareness on topics such as hygiene and health. This approach has helped significantly improve the living standards of the communities we have worked with, contributing also to the decrease of common illnesses in these villages.

In 2017, 1.160 students from 12 villages benefitted from our scholarship program, and relied on school infrastructures that we have built, including primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, nurseries, teacher accommodations, libraries, computer rooms, school kitchens and canteens, sanitation facilities, playgrounds, etc.

Among the new activities introduced this year,  we also launched a noodle making project at Huay Nam Khun School, aimed at producing noodles for the canteen meals for students attending the school. We contributed to the initiative by purchasing the required equipment and at present the students are collaborating and helping in the kitchen to prepare their own food.

In addition, we promoted a new initiative at VBAC professional school: a collaboration between the parents of student beneficiaries currently studying there and Pistorio Foundation for the maintenance of the students’ dorms. We invited parents to join students and staff for the up keeping of the dorms and gardens during holiday breaks, getting them involved in tasks such as cutting grass and pruning trees.

School garden activities in  a number of our schools have continued this year. The idea behind this program is to teach children how to cultivate and produce food that can be consumed in the school canteens. This program has several objectives: introduction of students to agriculture and the related skills that the students can potentially further develop in the future to generate a source of income; provide agricultural know-how to students to empower the community; raise awareness in villages and rural areas on the importance of environmental protection and the use of sustainable and organic agricultural practices that respect the soil and the natural habitat.

Parents Giving a Helping Hand at VBAC

Parents Giving a Helping Hand at VBAC

Students Working in the School Garden Project

Students Working in the School Garden Project

From Our Beneficiaries

Weerapong Ar Jor and his mother during the graduation


College-VBAC – Weerapong Ar Jor ‘s story

“My name is Weerapong Ar Jor. I come from Myanmar and I’m the eldest son of the family. My parents did not have the means to support my education and I decided to do my best to make it on my own.  I therefore moved to Thailand and I had the chance to arrive at VBAC where now I finally graduated in accounting. I have never thought I would have come this far. I am so grateful for this amazing result and I would like to thank Pistorio Foundation which has been supporting me through its scholarship program since the beginning of my studies in Thailand.

I promise that I will try to give back to society all the gifts I was given and I will do my best to help those who are in need”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key achievements in 2017

Scholarship Program

    • 1165 student beneficiaries from 12 villages in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces supported in various schools from Kindergarten to University level
    • 70 students enrolled in professional schools in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and vocational training centers in Lamphun province
    • 22 students completed professional or vocational school education and received a diploma
    • Retention rate: 90%
    • Pass rate: 90%
    • 1 student graduated in Industrial Engineering at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna

    Logistic Support

    • 211 students received transportation from villages to the closest schools in their area
    • 287 uniforms have been distributed
    • 43 students at VBAC College were provided with meals throughout the school year of 2017

Human Resources Support

  • 1 assistant to VBAC dormitory.
  • 1 kindergarten teacher at Huay Kuk Village Learning Center

Outcomes since the Inception of the Program

  • The project was launched in 2006 and has reached over 3000 students.
  • In 11 years we completed 38 infrastructures projects, namely: 3 Primary Schools, 3 Teacher Accommodations buildings, 1 Secondary School, 3 Kindergartens, 7 Dormitories, 3 Libraries, 3 Computer Rooms, 5 Preschools, 2 Playgrounds, 1 Arts and Music Classroom Building, 3 Canteens, 3 Clean Water Systems, and 1 Health Post.

Burkina Faso

Context and challenges

Characterised by semi-arid savannah and forests, Burkina Faso is one of the world’s most disadvantaged countries. Around 45% of its quickly growing population lives on less than US$1.25 a day.  Access to sanitation and electricity is limited, while inadequate investment in education and infrastructure make any development gains hard to maintain.

The country has a very weak education system that faces many challenges. The literacy rate is close to 36% with relevant disparities between men (43%) and women (29,3%). [4] The situation is even more dramatic if we consider the huge geographic inequalities between urban and rural areas: school attendance rates are five times higher in the region surrounding the capital Ouagadougou in comparison to remote rural areas. Moreover, even where different educational opportunities are available, the quality of teacher training is generally low and the education system does not meet the needs of the population.

[4] For further details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

Pistorio Foundation’s presence in the country
Boulkiemdè Village Project

Boulkiemdè Village Project

 

Partnering with Centro Italiano Aiuto All’Infanzia (CIAI), Pistorio Foundation decided to intervene in the country in 2006 with an ad hoc project focused on the support of over 100 needy students from the rural area of Boulkiemdé in western Burkina Faso.

The intervention had the ultimate goal of improving the enrolment rate in the region while providing basic services to beneficiaries such as nutrition, hygiene training, and primary health care.

The project was completed in 2007 with the construction of relevant infrastructures in the Primary School of Nibagdo: we doubled the size of the school in terms of classroom space and provided sanitation facilities, kitchen and canteen to the existing buildings. Furthermore, after two years the Foundation significantly improved the region’s secondary school education and enrolment rates by building a new secondary school in the Sogpelcé village which opened with over 500 students. The school was further expanded in 2015 with the building of three new classrooms, and upgrading of the electric and water systems.

 

Students at the Sogpelcé School

The strong engagement of Pistorio Foundation was rewarded in the country as our secondary school was recognised by the government to be among the best ones in the Western Burkina because of the high quality of education and of facilities provided.

As of December 2017, the Foundation continues its activities in the country supporting beneficiaries’ scholarship program, through which they receive the tools and supplies needed to succeed in school, including uniforms, books and stationary, medical checkups and treatments, school meals, etc.

From Our Beneficiaries

Kabore Alphonse


Kabore Alphonse

“Hello, I am Kabore Alphonse. I’m attending Souka High School.

I would like to say thank you to Pistorio Foundation because they are supporting our studies and paying our school fees giving us what we need to attend our classes.

I would also like to say thank you to my parents because they have enrolled me in a school where I can have access to a huge and unique opportunity which will give me a different vision on life.

School gives us the possibility of becoming better people and therefore to be useful for our community and country.

I invite all my friends to do what I’m doing in order to become a better person in life.”

 

 

Kiemde Soumaila


Kiemde Soumaila

“My name is Kiemde Soumaila. I’m attending the high school in Sogpelcé.

The scholarship I’m receiving is helping me attend my classes and also become a better and more responsible person.

The support I receive is fundamental in my daily life as I can have everything I need to continue my studies.

If everything goes like I expect and if I continue having good results I can realise my dream to become a doctor contributing in this way to help my family, my community and all the people in need I will meet.

Thank you to my supporters, with your help I can aspire to have a better life”.

 

 

 

Key achievements in 2017

Sponsored children

  • 20 student beneficiaries

School results

  • Student teacher ratio: 60:1 vs 75:1 national average
  • Pass rate: 77%
  • Retention rate: 85%
  • Absentee rate of teachers: less than 10 days

Outcome since the inception of the program:

  • The project started in 2006 reaching over 120 students
  • In 11 years we completed the following infrastructure projects: Nibagdo Primary School expansion including school classrooms, kitchen, canteen, sanitation facilities, for 150 students; Sogpelce’ Secondary School, including Classrooms, Sanitation Facilities, School Water and Electric Systems, Library, and Computer Room, for over 700 students.

Cambodia: The Back to School Project

Context and challenges

Cambodia is in its third decade of economic development and stability. Moreover, the country has made important advances in reducing poverty and improving health. Despite these results however, significant problems still remain. Democracy and basic human rights still represent a challenge. Inadequate nutrition is a persistent problem for over 30% of children and human trafficking is still a sad reality.

The educational system is also confronted with issues such as the inequality of enrolment, attendance and participation rates between boys and girls at school, lack of sufficient hygiene standards and water supply in education facilities, and the lack of good quality education personnel. Furthermore, despite the evidence of weaknesses in the education system, the sector is still direly underfunded.

Pistorio Foundation’s presence in the country

Phnom Penh Back to School Project

Management Class © PSE

In 2006 the Pistorio Foundation, following its key mission to give each child a better future, partnered with Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) to support a scholarship program with the key scope of giving children  in need who had dropped out of school the possibility of re-enrolling in the education system by offering an accelerated program that covered two academic years in one.

Beneficiares are able to catch up the lost years and complete 12 years of schooling in only six years.  Subsequently, they can attend professional school to learn skills and earn a diploma that will allow them to find employment in the job market.  This will allow them to break their families’ intergenerational cycle of poverty and secure them a brighter future. Students who have completed their studies at PSE are known for their solid academic and professional school background and therefore are employed by the best employers in their fields of expertise.

Since 2007, the Pistorio Foundation has supported over 180 beneficiaries of which 90 have now a professional diploma that give them the possibility of having a better future.

From Our Beneficiaries

Khorn Sophos at PSE-Institute

Khorn Sophos at PSE-Institute

“Hello I’m Khorn Sophos and I am 22 years old. I come from the Prey Veng province.  I attended the 4 year course in Administration and Accounting at PSE-Institute. After the graduation I started working at E Penh Company as Hospitality Consultant and I had a good salary of more than 150 USD a month. The classes I had the chance to take were really important to give me the right skills I needed for my new job.

In the coming 5-7 years, I am planning to run my own business selling construction materials. First of all, I have to save enough money, but then I want to try something bigger. I thank Pistorio Foundation and PSE for helping me becoming an individual, who can have the capacity and ability to compete in a work sector with candidates from other private educational institutions”.

 

 

Key achievements in 2017

Supported children

  • 25 beneficiaries

Services provided

  • one general medical checkup per year (their families are also included in this service), free medications and specific vaccination when needed;
  • daily meals including breakfasts and lunch with meal plans supervised by a medical team

Scholarship program results

  • retention rate: 97%
  • pass rate 94,3%
  • student teacher ratio 35:1 versus 45:1 national average
  • absentee rate of teachers: less than four days of absence on average

Outcomes:

  • 1 student has successfully completed professional school in 2017

Outcome since the inception of the program:

  • 91 students have completed professional school since 2009
  • Over 180 student beneficiaries reached

Morocco

Context and Challenges

The Kingdom of Morocco has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, a rocky mountain interior and a history of independence. It has a rich culture with a blend of Arab, Berber, European and African influences.

Despite general economic progress reached, many challenges still weaken the social development of the country. In the educational system, for example, despite new reforms, many unsolved issues still persist. Progress is stunted due widespread poverty, child labor, the stark differences and disparities between rural and urban environments, and the high gender inequality gap in education, and the high level of drop out rates also due to these reasons.

In response to these issues, the Non-Formal Education Program (NFEP) was implemented by the government to diminish illiteracy while promoting education for all. This program, in fact, provides a flexible solution for students aged 9 to 17 years old, who have abandoned school, helping them subsequently to be reintegrated in the formal education system. The NFEP program represents a “second chance”, offered by the government, to dropout students to be re-enrolled in the public school system following an ad hoc curriculum that allows students to catch up on their lost school years and be back on track with their appropriate school age level education. In parallel, the program also imparts students with valuable vocational training skills should they opt to enrol in professional school once they complete the two year program, particularly for the older students.

Pistorio Foundation’s presence in the country

Morocco Back to School Project

With the support of its historic partner, the Azrou Center for Community Development, Pistorio Foundation began operating in the country in 2010. The scope of the intervention was to give a second chance to school dropouts, supporting students who came from contexts of extreme poverty.

The Non Formal Education Program offered by our project provided an alternative to children in need who had dropped out of school and came from  critical contexts and backgrounds subjected to social discrimination, criminality, and exploitation. Our school environment and program represented a safe and dependable haven for our beneficiaries as they changed their destinies and blossomed.  For the first time, many found a newborn hope of being able to develop and use their talents to create a better future for themselves and their families.

 

Students Ready To Start Their Evaluation Exam

Students Ready To Start Their Evaluation Exam

Introducing kids to pastry class

Introducing kids to pastry class

The school curriculum is designed for students aged from 9 to 17 years old. Students can attend vocational training classes together with regular school classes.  During the school week, kids can spend free time in extra-curricular activities such as sports to help them lead their lives as normal children having fun and socialising with friends.

The initiative has proved to generate a very positive impact on our beneficiaries and these results were acknowledged by the Moroccan Minister of Education himself in past years.

In 2013, to provide a dedicated space and facilities for the project which previously was based at the premises of our partner’s site, Centre d’Azrou, the Foundation built a school site for the NEF program, which comprised fully equipped classrooms, workshops, sanitation facilities, kitchen, and canteen.

THEATRE CLASS

Theatre Class

From Our Beneficiaries

Zineb Ait Moulay Zine

Zineb Ait Moulay Zine

My name is Zineb Ait Moulay Zine. I have spent over two years in the Community Center. During this period my teachers supported me and helped me get ready to be reintegrated in the public educational system.

Now I feel, I’m finally able to be more focused during my classes and I have enhanced my reading and writing performance.

My personal motivation in continuing my studies is definitely higher than before and I hope I’ll be able to go on studying to make my dream become true: I want to become a doctor”.

 

 

Zineb Ait Moulay Zine

Zineb’s mother

“Hello I’m the mother of Zineb Ait Moulay Zine. There are no words to say how happy I am for the experience my daughter was given at the Azrou Center. My daughter was successfully reintegrated in the public school system thanks to the efforts of her teachers, who not only assisted her academically but also helped her in social and psychological rehabilitation.

I’ve noticed a concrete change in my daughter’s manners, interests and self-confidence. I’m so grateful to Pistorio Foundation that with its constant donations made it possible”.

 

 

 

Key achievements in 2017

Sponsored children

  • 43 beneficiaries

Scholarship program results

  • retention rate: 93,3%
  • pass rate: 65,11%
  • student teacher ratio: 10:1 – student ratio national average: 40:1
  • absentee rate of teachers: less than 5 days a year

Outcome of the year

  • 11 students inserted in professional schools

Outcome since the inception of the program:

  • The project started in 2010 reaching to date 288 students
  • 41 students have completed professional school since 2010
Foundation Board Members
Pasquale Pistorio (President)
Piero Martinotti Board Member
Giacomo del Grande Treasurer and Board Member
Elena Pistorio Board Member
Carmelo Pistorio Board Member
   
Giovanna Bottani Director of Operations
Country Managers
Nalinthiya Navathitikul Thailand
Piero Martinotti Burkina Faso
Mohamed Lasry Morocco
Elena Pistorio Cambodia
Pro Bono Contributors
Mario Orlandi Website Publisher
Francesca Ferrari Project Photography/Filmmaker

Contacts

Pistorio Foundation
Via Bice Cremagnani, 7
20871 Vimercate (MB),
Italy
Email:contact@pistoriofoundation.org