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Mar 12, 2019

Confronting Obstacles through Tutoring Sessions

Cojolya's whole team helped tutor students!
Cojolya's whole team helped tutor students!

Our artisan’s children fight daily to perform well in school and improve their abilities.This year, all members of Cojolya’s office have been chipping in to work with small study groups to offer academic mentorship for students who want to do better in the subjects most difficult for.  We have found that the hardest subjects for them are computing, English, and math.

The current education system requires the use of technology, but the largest obstacle for our students is that they don’t have computers in their homes and far fewer have internet. Because of this, Mano a Mano is supporting them with a space where they can count on having computers and internet to improve their computer skills and knowledge about technology, while getting their homework done.  

Another challenging subject for some of our older students is English. This course is particularly difficult for students in writing and pronunciation as their mother tongue is Tz’utujil, one of the predominantly oral Maya languages, which has a very different structure than English. In order to improve, the program is helping with group tutoring sessions in English, to improve our students’ language acquisition and to practice pronunciation all together.

For subjects such as mathematics, Chonita worked one on one with Lourdes, who wants to strengthen her abilities in solving math problems. In our community, many young people have trouble with math, but our program always seeks new solutions to support these young indigenous students in their academic careers.

We loved seeing the hands-on support for Mano a Mano in our small office here in Santiago Atitlán. Our Executive Director, Carina, helped Yulissa and Chonita with textual analysis. Our Design Assistant, Camila, tutored Dolores in reading. Our Communications & Development Coordinator Julia worked with Pedro, Israel, and José Miguel on English pronunciation and spelling of fruits, and Chonita, our Mano a Mano Director, also joined to practice her English!

Camila, Design, helped Dolores with literacy
Camila, Design, helped Dolores with literacy
Julia tutored Miguel, Israel, and Pedro in english
Julia tutored Miguel, Israel, and Pedro in english
Chonita works with Lourdes on her math skills
Chonita works with Lourdes on her math skills
Tutoring session in Santiago Atitlan's streets
Tutoring session in Santiago Atitlan's streets
Pedro practices typing on our computers every day
Pedro practices typing on our computers every day

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Feb 22, 2019

The 2019 Schoolyear Brings Excitement in spite of Challenges

Israel, Hadasa, and Damaris are ready for school!
Israel, Hadasa, and Damaris are ready for school!

Our Mano a Mano students are looking forward to 2019 as they take their first steps in achieving their academic goals this year.

 

Usually, the beginning of the schoolyear is a stressful time for families across Guatemala. The cost of school supplies is a substantial economic strain for families who struggle to make ends meet. Their inability to pull together sufficient funds to buy school supplies to support their kids’ education can be embarrassing and disincentivizing for students who feel that education is not their priority in an economically trying time for indigenous Guatemalan communities. In spite of the dark news for indigenous Guatemalans fleeing a nation that offers them little economic opportunity, discrimination, and government corruption that hearkens back to the War, the beginning of this schoolyear was a happy moment for our Mano a Mano families. Thanks to our donors, parents and students alike were grateful and happy to receive a backpack and school supplies, necessary for celebrating the beginning of the new year. 

 

Two of our students, Yulisa and Concepción, are excited as they will finish their professional degrees in education this year. They have long dreamed of working with preschool students and have already started their “prácticas” where they work as assistant teachers for four year olds. The work is tiring, but they have a hopeful outlook and are learning a great deal.

 

Pedro and Israel have experienced big changes this year as they have entered high school! While the academics are new and challenging, reaching the goal of attending high school is an inspiring achievement. Israel has been a wonderful example for his younger sisters, who he has taught how to use the computers in our offices, going as far as to help them with his homework. Students like him are positive role models for  neighbors and friends as well as they have the initiative to succeed and enjoy being part of an educational program as it helps them progress.

 

Mano a Mano is giving the opportunity of a better future to these students through offering them academic support as an education is a primary goal in life for students of this generation.  

Damariz's 1st year of school, with a big backpack
Damariz's 1st year of school, with a big backpack
Diego and David showing off new school supplies
Diego and David showing off new school supplies
Costly supplies are a strain for local families
Costly supplies are a strain for local families
Diego, 13, and David, 14, head off to school!
Diego, 13, and David, 14, head off to school!
Yulissa and Chonita will graduate as teachers
Yulissa and Chonita will graduate as teachers

Links:

Dec 31, 2018

Pedro's First Step Towards Success

Pedro and his 8th grade teacher
Pedro and his 8th grade teacher

The photos that middle school graduates receive at their closing ceremony reflect how this key moment of growth is both celebratory and formal within our community. A gregarious and curious 13-year-old, Pedro looks serious at his middle school graduation in contrast to the usual endearing images of him mid-conversation or letting out one of his huge laughs. Even so, graduating from middle school is nothing short of significant for Pedro and his family.

 

This year, we had the honor of supporting Pedro across the schoolyear, and he reached his initial goal of graduating middle school, which he set for himself when we first began developing our Mano a Mano para el Desarrollo social program almost two years ago. As a team, we are so proud of him because he is the first of his siblings to graduate from middle school. His parents are so happy and are hopeful that as the eldest, he will be an example for his three younger siblings so that he can inspire them to follow in his footsteps.

 

Pedro’s mother is an artisan who does beadwork, and his father is a travelling salesman who once dreamed of graduating from college but had to drop out of secondary school when his family fell on hard times. Fortunately, Pedro’s aunt, a warper and weaver at Cojolya named Magdalena Reanda Pacach, connected him with Cojolya’s academic resources that are available thanks to your support and the impact of your generous donations.

 

In the photos from his closing ceremony, Pedro did eventually let his usual triumphant smile shine. He has reached a crucial moment because he has many more steps to take before graduating with a university degree in education, which is his dream for now. A participative, artistic, and friendly member of our program, Pedro would be an outstanding mentor not only for his siblings but also within our community.

 

“I am so excited to meet the teachers, make new friends, and learn even more in high school,” Pedro says about the coming schoolyear. Yet, we still need your support in these last moments of 2018 so that we can help Pedro continue his studies and help the other 12 students in our program pursue their dreams in the coming schoolyear.

 

Once more, we are deeply appreciative of all the donations from our 2017 campaign because through them, we could support our kids this year, and we are thankful for all the generous people who have donated and are donating to our project in 2018. Thank you!

 

From Cojolya and Mano a Mano, we wish you happy holidays and a Happy New Year!

Pedro and his parents, he is the eldest of 4 kids
Pedro and his parents, he is the eldest of 4 kids
Pedro loves learning and cant wait for high school
Pedro loves learning and cant wait for high school
Our 13 Mano a Mano students
Our 13 Mano a Mano students
 
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