Centro Educativo Madre Laura – San Andrés School

2019 – ongoing

San Andrés, Putumayo, Colombia



5 classrooms

Design, Fundraising

Fundación Catalina Muñoz

Institucion educativa rural intercultural Madre Laura

Local workers + training
Local materials

Centro Educativo Madre Laura – San Andrés School

The public school “Centro Educativo Madre Laura” is located in southern Colombia in the Santiago district of the Putumayo district. In the school, children of the local indigenous population of the Inga, who make up 80% of the student body, are looked after and supported. 

The regional disparity is a big issue in Colombia, highlighted buy the lack of essential infrastructures in certain rural areas. One of the priority objectives is to develop the rural population through education and the functionality of the educational infrastructure is essential to create opportunities for young people. 

The school in San Andrés faces, in addition to the difficulties already mentioned, an even greater challenge: the safety of the building. The school was built without taking into consideration the loads of the upper floor, which was later added, neglecting the statics of the building. Due to safety reasons the 70% of the school had to be evacuated and demolished in February 2019. So, the students from San Andrés currently have no central school building to be taught. They have to be accommodated in different spaces not intended for teaching, such as rooms of neighbouring houses, the parish church, the local police station, as well as storage rooms. Only 67 students, of the 280 totals, can still use the remaining school buildings. 

Together with the Catalina Muñoz foundation, we have designed the planning for 2 new single-storey school buildings that can solve the difficult situation of this community, improve the learning infrastructure of the institution and promote the motivation of the students, as well as ensuring the safety of both teachers and students. 5 classrooms will be built with sufficient capacity for all pupils. Each classroom should have space for 20-25 pupils. Thus, up to 125 pupils per building will benefit directly from the construction. As in previous projects, our planning is based on local conditions and we try to complement the local construction methods with new approaches. However, an important focus is placed on the safe design of the load-bearing construction elements and a stable foundation. The construction of this project will start in Spring 2020.