Our last trip to Guatemala was very exciting and productive! Our first stop was to visit the preschool and after-school program in Patcizia (near Antigua) that we had already funded through this coming October. The teacher, Elba, was enthusiastic and capable, and had a great rapport with the children. Needless to say, the children were eager, attentive, and full of smiles.
An important fact about Guatemala is that school starts mid-January and ends mid-October. Another fact is that children often don’t start school until they enter 1st grade at age 7. This is because there are no preschools or kindergartens in the village or because the cost of uniforms and books presents an economic hardship so the parents don’t sent them until first grade. Also, many children in rural villages speak one of the many Mayan languages at home, and they learn Spanish when the start school.
We met with many people; researched and investigated possible projects; and visited many rural villages. Opportunities fell into place as we had hoped they would! A small school called Kikoten in the village of San Andres Semetabaj (near Panajachel) submitted a proposal to Project Quetzal to fund an after-school program for 1st and 2nd graders who are at risk of not passing. Kikoten is a small public school that receives some funding from a Mayan organization to teach Mayan culture and traditions in the school; such as, the Mayan calendar, protecting the environment, Kaqchikel (the Mayan language in this area), preserving Maya stories and legends, and teaching the children to be proud of their heritage. We are funding this program for 3 months, until mid-October when school ends.
In another small community, we are funding a women’s weaving group (Weaving for Change/Tejiendo para el cambio) for 3 months also. There are 7 women in this group who are talented weavers who needed help getting started. The focus is for them to produce textiles to sell in order to provide nutritious food for their children, to buy medicine if they are sick, and to help with the cost of their education. The leader of this group will hold meetings with the group to discuss the importance of good nutrition and education for their children; strategies for selling their weavings; and how to save some money to buy more materials.
In order to continue these four projects for the coming year, we would require approximately $6,000.
|Preschool teacher||Patcizia||$1500||1 year|
|After-school tutorial||Patcizia||$1500||1 year|
|Preschool teacher||San Andres||$1500||1 year|
|Materials||San Andres||$100||1 year|
|Weaving Group||Solola||$1000||6 months|
We have other projects waiting in the wings in the areas of education and nutrition. The need is great in Guatemala, and the children deserve the opportunity to be successful. We have the connections and the energy to develop more valuable projects. We lack only one thing, funding. All donations go directly to a project. Any overhead costs are paid by the founders.