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This is Anita. Hopefully, you remember me from your time in Lake Atitlan. Some of you took my cooking class and others met me through the co-operative that I run. Both of these projects were created to help support my community.
Some of you also know the charitable initiatives I have organized. For the past few years, I have collected money to support the education of the children who live around the lake. And of course, since the middle of March of this year, I’ve been helping out our community as they struggle with the impact of COVID-19.
Now, we are here again, knocking at the door of your heart. At the start of 2021, another year of school will begin and our project feels a large responsibility to our children. When I go to their houses and listen to their dreams, the experience simultaneously uplifts me as I think about the possibilities and breaks my heart knowing the struggles that lie ahead for most of them. So many of our children lack opportunities here in Guatemala and it’s a constant struggle for all of us to help them reach their potential.
In Guatemala, kids can go to school from grade 1 to 6 for free. My only job until this year has been to buy them school supplies for the whole year at a cost of around $60 USD. However, because of COVID, many of the children will require Internet access that they cannot afford without our help. The cost will be nearly $25 USD per month per household. While this represents a very large increase in per student expenditures, it is the only option available to them at the moment.
If they want to continue to grades 7 through 9, it gets even more expensive. On top of their school supplies plus Internet, it will cost $20 USD to enroll and then $20 USD per month for tuition.
High school is far more expensive at a cost of around $500 USD per student (before Internet expenses) when you add up tuition, uniforms and school supplies. While this may not seem like a lot of money to people outside of Guatemala, it has stopped many of our children from pursuing their education.
Education in Lake Atitlan is the key to gaining access to better jobs and improving the lives of the people in our community. Many Mayan families in the area only know basic Spanish and virtually no English. These language gaps make it virtually impossible for them to participate in the tourism and commerce economies. It’s easy to understand why it’s so important that they go to school and learn these languages.
This year, I want to continue to help the students who have come to rely on me and make their dreams come true.
Raising money to send our children to school in 2020 was already a challenge because six of the children who we have been helping since we started this project were ready to go to high school. In 2021, that number will rise to ten. If we don’t help them, unfortunately, they won’t be able to obtain a secondary education.
I only send out this email once per year and I am hoping that I can count on you for your support. As I have always said, my intention is to share some of the blessings that God has given to me by enlisting the help of different people all over the world. I know we can help these children, all of whom were raised by single mothers who work in my co-operative.
On behalf of all of the women and children of Lake Atitlan, I would like to say thank you for your support and wish you all the best.
If you can help us, please donate by clicking the button above.
Questions and Answers
Q. Why is the this GoFundMe being run by Zachary Gallinger?
A. Zack took my class and was inspired to help me. Because of the GoFundMe country eligibility rules, I cannot set up a GoFundMe campaign from within Guatemala. Zack is collecting all of the money on my behalf and will send it to me through PayPal at the completion of the campaign.
Q. I want to ask you a question before I donate. How can I contact you?
A. You can contact me on WhatsApp at +502 5824 7440 or send me a message through the form on my website (GoFundMe will not let me add a URL so please search it through Google).
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Organizer and beneficiary
Niagara Falls, NY