October 18, 2018
Our presentation/fundraiser on October 7th at the Italian Cultural Center was a great success. There was a group of about 32 interested people who attended. It also met one of Project Quetzal’s goals of providing an educational forum for the community and donors.
The program consisted of the introduction of Board Members and people who were key in helping organize the event; Project Quetzal’s beginning; a timeline of the events that let to Guatemala’s 36-year civil; the Peace Accords; a discussion of malnutrition; how all of these factors have led to the extent of Guatemala’s problems; and, finally, how Project Quetzal is addressing these issues.
PQ started fundraising in May and has reached its goal of supporting 4 projects—a preschool, 2 after-school tutoring programs for 1st and 2nd graders, and a weaving coop which allows mothers to earn money to pay for uniforms, books, and buy more nutritious food.
We are in Guatemala right now and have already met with 2 of our teachers and visited their classrooms. It was important for us to come at this time since the school year ends here late October.
We received a warm welcome from the children at Elba’s preschool in Patzicia with lots of hugs, smiles, and drawings. A group of 6 mothers presented us with a photo of the children, and each of them stood up and spoke about how happy they were that their children had the opportunity to go to preschool. They were thankful for the teacher, for Project Quetzal’s support, and for the knowledge of the importance of good nutrition and education for their children that they have received.
Next we visited Rosa and her after-school tutorial program for 1st and 2nd graders. Kikoten is the name of the small public school in San Andres. It is one of 22 schools in Guatemala that receives funding to focus on Mayan traditions. The Maya language, Kaqchikel, is taught there, along with the Mayan calendar, culture, legends, and respect for the environment. The children in our tutoring program are eager to learn, but need this extra attention in order to pass to the next grade. In Guatemala, children who do not pass 1st or 2nd grade generally do not continue their education.
We still need funding for classroom materials, and nutritional drinks to ensure that all the children in the program and their younger siblings receive a vitamin drink each day. We would also like to add at least one more preschool and one more after-school program for 2019. If you would like to contribute to Project Quetzal to help these wonderful kids have some hope for their future, please go to our Donate page.
Remember that it is people like you who make this work possible, and every dollar goes to help fund a project.
- The cost of funding a preschool teacher for 1 year – $1,500
- The cost of funding a tutorial program for 1 year – $900
- The cost of materials for 1 program for 1 year – $300
Other donations can cover nutritious snacks and vitamin drinks.
The photos are of the preschool and the after-school tutorial program.
Big news!! On October 7th, we are having our first public event! We will be talking about how Project Quetzal came to be, our current projects, and what we’re looking at for 2019. Part of the reason to form Project Quetzal in Sonoma County was to provide a venue to be able to educate and inform people here of the situation in Guatemala. We’ll talk about pertinent historical events that led to the 36-year civil war, the two decades since the Peace Accords, and the effects of ongoing poverty in Guatemala.
We hope to do several of these presentation/fundraising events a few times a year. We’ll give you an update on this one after the event.
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.
Besides recently receiving our nonprofit status from the IRS, the other exciting news is that Project Quetzal is now funding their first project!
It is a preschool in Patzicia, a small rural village between Antigua and Panajachel. There are approximately fifteen students who are now learning their letters, songs, how to share with other children, and eating a healthy snack every day. Their teacher, Elba, is earning $1500 a year with a stipend of $300 for school supplies.
Our next project is to fully develop an after-school program in this same village that we will serve children in the primary school who need academic assistance to insure that they will be successful in passing each grade.
Stay tuned for updates and further news!!