Hello! I am Samantha, a student from the States and as of recently, an English teacher at two amazing schools in San Pedro La Laguna,Guatemala; Escuelas Chuasinayi and Pacucha. We are currently accepting donations for the upcoming 2014 school year, which begins January 18th. Please watch the video, or read below for more information about the schools and our plans for the year!
Towards the Southwest of Guatemala lies Lake Atitlan, considered to be one of the World's most beautiful lakes. The towns that line it's shores are almost entirely populated with Indigenous people, and the strong Maya culture is still present today. The tourism increase in these parts has had a positive effect for a small portion of the locals, while 85% of the population is still living below the poverty line, and coping with the transition into "modernized" civilization. In places like San Pedro La Laguna, the majority of the town's people who are farmers, only make about $3 per day, and are struggling to provide necessities for the family. Sending their children to school is considered a luxury, as they can't afford even basic school supplies, and keep up with yearly cost. Children end up dropping out of school at a young age,and many work on the streets selling food and handicrafts to tourist. In Guatemala, only 40% of students will complete Elementary school.
For those who do get the opportunity to go to public schools such as Pacucha and Chuasinayi, conditions are still far from perfect. In Guatemala, the financing designated to public education is just a mere 1.8% of the Gross Domestic Product, less that half of it's neighboring Latin American countries. In 2005, the public school system because decentralized- meaning the individual school is responsible for all aspects of education within the community.In rural parts of the country, 0% of public schools meet the National minimal standards. This being said, schools in towns like San Pedro are becoming majority privatized- leaving the 35% that are public, with no resources and poor education quality.
I first wanted to become involved with helping these schools when I saw that they have so much potential, yet the lack of resources halts them from realizing it. These children are the future of the world, and deserve every opportunity possible to expand their minds and build a future for themselves. This isn't an after-school project, these schools are all that the children in towns like San Pedro have. While there is so much that can be done to improve the education for these students, we have a few goals I hope to reach by January when the school year begins. It is very important that anyone who is interested in donating, knows EXACTLY where their money is going and whom will be benefiting. (All supplies and books will be bought in Lake Atitlan, as to support the local economy)1) Self-sustaining Library in Both Schools
- Having a library in the school is very important, as not only does it increase literacy, children have the ability to bring the books home for the week and practice reading with their families. Many children in the schools have no access to any books whatsoever. Providing this opportunity for their creative minds to flourish and expand is unmeasurable. Using a weekly check out system teaches responsibility, and students have access to many books.
2) School Supplies for the Children
- Provide basic supplies for children in the area that cannot afford them. Our goal is to encourage attendance and participation in class. A donation of just $20 can provide a child with basic supplies for an entire year! 3) Educational Books for the Classrooms
-Currently, multiple grades are sharing books, making it difficult for a structured classroom. There are only exercise books available, and no lecture or manuals. Students have a hard time completing certain assignments because of a lack of Encyclopedias and no access to internet.
If we meet our goal of $3000, we will focus on other ways to improve the education system for these students. I have different after-school workshops in mind for the future, that will teach students new skills that they aren't taught in school, to broaden their learning horizon and expand their minds for their futures. ( such as Music, Art, etc.)
IF you would like to help and are unable to donate, please share the page and pass the message along :) The school is always accepting volunteers as well! Thank you from all of us here in San Pedro. xx
Resources: http://www.avivara.org/aboutguatemala/educationinguatemala.html http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6151425/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Guatemala