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Jul 3, 2018

Mano a Mano : The Computer's Access Initiative

Kids after receiving their annual school supplies
Kids after receiving their annual school supplies

After analyzing the data that we collected through our qualitative investigation in the year of 2017, we were able to identify the main problems related to the high level of school drop outs here in Santiago Atitlán. Along with a lack of role models and external support, we found that the financial barrier was the most predominant obstacle for school attendance. On account of this, we have evaluated the main components of this financial issue to better understand which school-related costs are the heaviest for the families to bear. As of now, we have begun to work on some potential long-term solutions, and we are monitoring their repercussions carefully. 

One of the biggest financial challenges for the families of Cojolya was the annual cost of Internet and printing, along with the accessibility of a computer itself. With that in mind, we decided to create a program located in Cojolya’s office that grants FREE access to two computers with Internet connection, color printing machines, and a copying machine, available for all children taking part in the Mano a Mano program.

 This initiative was officially launched in January 2018, and has since helped to reduce the educational fees of 9 different children. So far, only the first annual trimester’s data has been analyzed (from January to March), and we are confident that the number of participants and rate of participation will continue to grow. Furthermore we have evaluated that over the past three months alone, families of the association have saved approximately 1,700 Quetzals (aprox. $245 US) on computer usage and printing!

The cost of school supplies was also a sizeable financial burden for the families. At the beginning of 2018, in addition to increasing computer and printing accessibility, we started offering scholar tutorship and material support. We have also distributed supplies from collected donations, thereby covering 50% of the school supply fees for all 9 of the children who participated.

We are very proud of what our program has been able to accomplish in so little time, but we continue to dream bigger for our program and our children! For the year 2018-2019, our wish is to make this program even more accessible by offering our children larger time slots for computer usage under the presence of José, our full-time coordinator. Additionally, with your support, we hope to cover 100% of the material supplies fees for all children of Cojolya within next year.

We are forever grateful for your support.

Please consider donating to make our computer’s access initiative stronger!

To learn more about the Mano a Mano program, read our report HERE, or check out our WEBSITE.

Jun 18, 2018

The Story of Jose Santos Sicay Mesia

Jose and his family
Jose and his family


Our new Coordinator of the Mano a Mano program


José has been a member of Cojolya since 2014. From a very young age, he was obligated to work so he could afford going to school. One of his goal was to be able to graduate from High School, but, in order to do that, he had to earn his own money since his family had very limited financial resources.

As an artisan, José has an incredible talent for the elaboration of the ‘’Jaspe’’, which is an ancestral skill that implies to make visual design only with the wrapping threads of the weaving. When he was still a kid, he learned the Jaspe technique on its own initiative, and began working with people from his community. Through the years, he sold his Jaspe to the artisans that made the weaving on a larger floor looms. Today, he says that the money he earned doing that wasn’t worth his work and competence, but was at least sufficient to cover his scholar fees.

José is Adrea’s brother, one of our most talented weaver and member of our association for more than 20 years. Following his sister’s path by becoming an artisan member of the assocation himself, José was part of the first Mano a Mano para el Desarrollo’s cohort, when he was still finishing his last year of High School.

Now, José is officially a graduated professional. He is the very first of his family to achieve this goal, and is now a role model for his little sisters that are now following his path, but also for other artisans and other people of his neighborhood. It is a real joy and pride for us at Cojolya to know that our association has been able to play a positive influence in José’s path to his scholar success. 

Thanks to your generous contributions and collaboration through our last campaign, we have opened a new position especially for José as our new coordinator of the Mano a Mano program, so that, he also, can help to generate the positive impact for the other children of Cojolya. With his work, José will be able to guide the students through academic workshops, reading circles, and more. Even with these new professional responsibilities, José is still aware of the importance of his work as an artisan, and maintain all his textile activities.

For that the artisans can also pursue a path to self-development, and for that the students can also achieve their scholar goals, it is mandatory that José stays in the association, and therefore be a life role model for our members and their family.

With your donations, we wish to be able to offer the opportunity of having José as a full-time Coordinator of the program Mano a Mano para el Desarrollo, for the wonderful mentorship he can offer to the students of our program.


Please, consider supporting us so José can afford working full time with us!

To learn more about the Mano a Mano program, read our report HERE, or check out our WEBSITE.

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