The project, Mano a Mano Para El Desarrollo, empowers and supports the new generation of children in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala by creating an academic center that provides financial assistance, personal development training, and academic support.
In the predominantly indigenous town of Santiago Atitlan school dropout rates are unsettling- school enrollment after the 6th grade falls to 24%. Through extensive analysis, we identified three core problems which contribute to high dropout rates of our students - financial barriers; lack of role models; and lack of academic support. Mano a Mano para el Desarrollo seeks to increase school enrollment rates for our program's 22 children, who are the children of Cojolya's Mayan women weavers.
Our approach is multifaceted and will tackle all identified barriers to staying in school through providing financial support, academic mentorship, and personal development tools. While financial support is vital, we understand that a successful program requires a holistic approach. Thus, our approach includes a mentorship program with local professionals, a student-led tutoring/ support program, and meetings led by Cojolya in order to holistically empower and support students.
The project will help lighten the financial burden of education and provide students with necessary personal and academic support. However, the long-term vision of the project expands generations. We aim to encourage the value of education through holistically supporting the generation of students currently in our program. We hope that this generation may become examples and role models for parents, younger siblings, and the next generation of participants in the Mano a Mano program.