Long Way Home, Inc.
c/o Dawn Brittle
172 Saint Clair Dr. W
Adam Howland, Lisa Massey, Mathew Paneitz, Liz Howland, Genevieve Croker, Kristin Guite
Lisa Massey,Ross Mordini,Kenny Short,Genevieve Croker,Danny Paz,Matthew Paneitz,Aaron Colvin,Elizabeth Rose
Long Way Home is a non-profit organization which uses sustainable design and materials to construct self-sufficient schools that promote education, employment and environmental stewardship.
Tecnico Maya Vocational School Project
Start Date: January 2009
Main Contact: Tecnico Maya, Mateo Paneitz
Project Manager : Adam Howland
Current Status: Seeking Funding - Under Construction
April 2012 Construction Update
The purpose of the Tecnico Maya Vocational School is to provide the young people of Comalapa with marketable skills that will enable them to be responsible citizens and entrepreneurs. There is a severe lack of educational opportunities for teenagers and young adults in rural Guatemala, and this project will give the young people of Comalapa the tools they need to be competitive in the local job market. The Vocational School will educate the local people, create jobs, and combat environmental degradation in Guatemala.
In addition to the standard educational curriculum, the Vocational School will offer coursework in radically sustainable construction, carpentry, masonry, mechanics, electrical, welding, and horticulture, along with the business and technology aspects of alternative energy production. The project aims to foster a new group of Guatemalan students, environmentalist and entrepreneurs, uniquely equipped to innovate in the field of sustainability and construction. Long Way Home's role will be to fundraise for the project, construct the school, and oversee the new curriculum's implementation.
In January 2012 the first three classrooms were handed over to Tecnico Maya. The official opening of the whole school complex will be in January 2014. It will consist of a total of 17 buildings: four vocational workshops, a mechanic shop, an administrative office, a cafeteria/library/computer lab, eight classrooms, an art lab and a volunteer house.
The Tecnico Maya school endures persistent problems with obtaining sufficient funding, and the dedicated staff and faculty at the school have sacrificed time and money to provide a multicultural education at a low cost to students, only charging a nominal fee. Teachers often work many months without salary due to lack of funding, along with the substandard building the school currently occupies. Consequently, Long Way Home purchased a piece of land in 2008 in Paxan, a village one mile from the center of Comalapa, to build the Vocational School to alleviate these problems.
The Vocational School will provide a venue for young Comalapans to learn such trades as masonry, carpentry, and bicycle repair. The workshops in the school will serve as hands-on classrooms, and will be viable businesses where the students will work as apprentices to professionals in each field. The income generated by the workshops will pay the teachers' salaries, helping the school near its goal of financial sustainability. The school will also include an area where students can learn alternative energy production. Once the school is successfully producing alternative fuels, the sale of fuel will provide additional funding for the institution.
Interns and volunteers from around the world who come to work at the Tecnico Maya Vocational School will also contribute to the financial sustainability of the project. The fee that each volunteer pays will directly fund educational programs at the school and supplement teacher salaries.
Using environmentally friendly construction methods such as trash bottles, rammed earth, and earth bag, the school is a practical demonstration of how to reuse discarded materials. The locals who participate in the school's construction have hands-on experience with these money-saving construction techniques and will hopefully apply their new knowledge within the community.
Environmental education will be a main focus of the school's new curriculum. From organic permaculture to environmentally friendly construction methods, young Comalapans will be learning responsible stewardship of the Earth through their coursework. The addition of alternative fuel production education should make a long-term impact on the surrounding communities as well.
The most immediate way that the construction of the vocational school will contribute to the economy of Comalapa is through providing jobs for teachers. Not only will the current Tecnico Maya teachers have a more consistent source of income, but the newly added vocational curriculum will require the addition of several new teachers from within the community. The long-term economic effects of the vocational school will be felt when a group of skilled young Comalapans, uniquely trained to be environmental entrepreneurs, enter the Guatemalan job market.