Apply to Join

Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children

by Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Creating Educational Opportunity for Maya Children
Students pose with their new athletic uniforms
Students pose with their new athletic uniforms

For many families in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, sending a child to school gets complicated fast. When a household of five or six family members depends on an income of less than $4.00 per day, it is nearly impossible for parents to enroll even one child in school due to the laundry list of costs associated with school attendance.

For example, every public school student in Santiago Atitlán must purchase a sports uniform and shoes to wear during gym class throughout the school year. While gym clothes may seem an insignificant detail, the inability to pay for a sports uniform can prevent children in Santiago from attending and excelling in school.

At Pueblo a Pueblo, we believe that economic need should not prevent children from having the opportunity to learn. That’s why every student participating in the Primary Education Scholarships project receives a uniform and a pair of athletic shoes each year.

Last week, project manager Johanny Quiejú visited Chukmuk Primary School to deliver a brand-new uniform to each student. Once she had passed out a shirt and sweatpants to each of the sixteen students in attendance, the boys and girls tried them on. With a color-coordinated uniform in tow, each student is more prepared to take on elementary school and all its challenges—without worrying about how to pay for gym clothes.

Our Primary Education Scholarships team works hard to set students up for success, but we can’t do it without supporters like you! Thank you for believing in the power of education to transform lives and the little boosts—sometimes as simple as a gym uniform—that make a big difference along the way.

Johanny helps out
Johanny helps out
Chukmuk Primary School scholarship recipients
Chukmuk Primary School scholarship recipients
A student shows off her new uniform
A student shows off her new uniform

Links:

A mother participates in the workshop
A mother participates in the workshop

Johanny and Sandy are the team behind the Primary Education Scholarships project. They work with families who are determined to give their children the opportunity to study in spite of considerable social and economic obstacles.

Each year, Johanny and Sandy host a series of workshops for parents of students sponsored through the project. They decided to focus this year’s sessions on a topic relevant to our partner communities: school dropout and how to prevent it.

On Wednesday, June 12, Johanny and Sandy were setting up for a workshop in Panabaj, one of the four neighborhoods of Santiago Atitlán where sponsored students live and study. As they dragged chairs into place, mothers of sponsored students arrived one after another, some with younger children in tow.

The facilitators began the session by introducing the day’s theme. “We want to hear from you,” Johanny continued. “What factors contribute to school dropout in your community?” The participants’ answers ranged from bullying at school to economic concerns to a lack of support from teachers. Sandy wrote down each answer on a large wall display.

Then, Sandy asked the mothers, “What can we as parents do about these problems? How can we make sure our children have the support they need to stay in school?” The participants had plenty of ideas, questions, and frustrations to share. One mother suggested regular meetings with the child’s teacher. Another countered that her child’s teacher has been uninterested in even talking with her. Johanny proposed, “If your child’s teacher is not helpful, try speaking with  the school principal—you have every right to request support from your child’s school.”

Sandy and Johanny also urged parents to promote gender equity in their homes. “It is important that our sons and our daughters have the same opportunities, including the opportunity to study,” Johanny told participants, “and this starts at home. Our daughters shouldn’t be the only ones helping to sweep and wash and cook—our sons can help too!” Teaching children that girls are just as smart and capable as boys will help them to succeed in school despite obstacles, she explained.

After many rounds of questions, answers, suggestions, and follow-ups, the facilitators shared a snack with the participants and the mothers set off for home once again. Johanny and Sandy packed up their materials and headed back to the office. Now that they have wrapped up their workshops in all four communities, they will interview participating mothers to see what they learned and what our team can do better next time.

Johanny feels that she gains as much from facilitating these workshops as the mothers do from participating. “It’s important that the mothers we work with feel they can trust us, and these sessions help us build rapport,” she says. “When we show that we’re listening, that we’re here to help, the mothers are more likely to reach out to us when their children are having trouble in school.” It is this dedication to individual mothers, students, and families that makes Johanny and Sandy such valuable allies. Your support of the Primary Education Scholarships project makes all of this possible: greater understanding, stronger collaboration, and smarter problem-solving that keeps kids learning, growing, and attending school!

Johanny facilitates the discussion
Johanny facilitates the discussion
Mothers of sponsored students attend the workshop
Mothers of sponsored students attend the workshop
Sandy listens to a participant
Sandy listens to a participant's suggestion
A mother and her young daughter look on
A mother and her young daughter look on
Johanny and Sandy after the workshop
Johanny and Sandy after the workshop

Links:

Elena with her school backpack
Elena with her school backpack

The students who are sponsored through the Primary Education Scholarships project overcome countless obstacles to getting an education every day. We believe that education empowers young people to build positive change in their communities—that’s why our team works hard to support passionate young learners with the resources they need to attend school and succeed. Elena and Dorcas are two students sponsored through the project whose education is made possible by donors like you. Below are the messages of hope, ambition, and gratitude that they would like to share with you, our extended Pueblo a Pueblo community.

 

Elena is a fourth grader at Panabaj Primary School. She writes about her neighborhood, “In Panabaj we are always happy.” To the donors who support her, she writes,

I am happy because of what you have given me. Thank you so much for the school supplies, backpack, and Christmas present. I am very grateful for your support because I need it very much. My parents are also thankful for the help you have given me. I hope that you can continue to support me because I need your help to continue studying.

My goal is to be a teacher and give a good education to the children in my community and to give a good example of success for them. It makes me so happy to talk about my dreams and goals. With nothing more to say, I say goodbye.

 

Dorcas is a fourth grader at Chacayá Primary School. She has a cat named Mateo and a dog named Monkey. To the donors who support her education, she writes,

I am in the fourth grade thanks to my parents because they have supported me and they look after me and my siblings so that we can reach our future goals and take advantage of our schooling. I’m also grateful that there is a little school in my community, because without that school my family would have to pay a lot more for me to study somewhere else.

If God wills it, in sixth grade I will have the power to study how to prevent violence in our community so that it does not go any further. In the event it happens, my parents will be very grateful. With the support you have given me, my father says that one day I can be the professional of my family because not only boys are able to study and we have the same rights.

 

We support students like Dorcas and Elena because we want to see them advocate for future generations of children like them. We want to see them fight for peace and justice in their communities. We want to see them grow up into confident women who know that they are just as capable as their brothers of changing the world for the better.

Your support fuels Dorcas and Elena’s success. Thank you for believing in young students like them and in the power of education!

Elena
Elena's letter to supporters
Elena
Elena's drawing shows her town's traditional dress
Fourth-grader Dorcas with her school backpack
Fourth-grader Dorcas with her school backpack
Dorcas
Dorcas' letter to supporters
Dorcas
Dorcas' drawing shows her family's pets

Links:

Students with their new backpacks
Students with their new backpacks

For our Primary Education Scholarships team, the holiday season isn’t just a time for celebrating at home with family and friends—it’s also a time when they celebrate with sponsored students. And January isn’t just the beginning of a new calendar year—here in Guatemala, it is also the first month of a new school year! With plenty to do and so much on the horizon, it has been a busy and joyful month here at Pueblo a Pueblo.

Our team spent early December hauling box after box of fruit, rice, cooking oil, and other foods into the office. They arranged the items in large baskets for sponsored students to take home for the Christmas holidays, a time that can be stressful for families whose income is already stretched thin. The baskets full of staple foods will relieve some of this economic pressure as families prepare a traditional Guatemalan Christmas eve meal of tamales and celebrate the holiday together.

The afternoon of December 13, students and parents arrived at the office for the project's annual end-of year gathering. After some opening remarks from project manager Johanny Quiejú, the team passed out Christmas baskets to each student. Johanny then ended the gathering with a few announcements about the fast-approaching school year.

January brings a change of pace for kids who have been working, playing, and helping out at home since school let out in October. The first week of the new year, Johanny and her team were back at work, filling up backpacks with pencils, notebooks, rulers, and all of the other tools that sponsored students will need to succeed in school this year. In Santiago Atitlán, students must bring their own supplies to school; when families are unable to afford to buy everything students need to complete assignments, their academic performance suffers. And so, on January 10, Johanny and her team passed out a backpack to each of the sponsored students in attendance.

Here in the state of Sololá, where one of every three adults cannot read or write, the barriers to receiving even a primary school education are many, but the Primary Education Scholarship project helps students succeed in spite of those challenges. Behind every sponsored student is a sponsor who believes in her. A monthly donation of $30 provides a primary school student with the resources they need to thrive all year long. Consider sponsoring a student’s education today!

*If you are interested in beginning a new sponsorship, send us an email at communications@puebloapueblo.org.

Preparing Christmas baskets for sponsored students
Preparing Christmas baskets for sponsored students
Sponsored student Maria del Rosario and her mother
Sponsored student Maria del Rosario and her mother
Johanny hands out forms at back-to-school meeting
Johanny hands out forms at back-to-school meeting
Marza is ready for school!
Marza is ready for school!

Links:

Salvador
Salvador

October is an exciting time of year for our Primary Education Scholarships project because with the end of the school year here in Guatemala comes graduation season! This year, eight of our sponsored students will graduate from primary school, two will graduate from middle school, and another two will graduate from high school. Every graduation at any level is a victory in a region where more than three out of ten adults cannot read or write*, and every of these invaluable milestones is made possible by the consistent support our team provides students throughout the school year. All sponsored students receive the financial assistance they need to pay the costs associated with attending public school in Guatemala, costs that are prohibitively high for many families and can force kids to drop out. Some students, however, need a little extra personalized support. For one sponsored student, this meant getting help navigating miscommunications in the classroom.

Salvador Damian is a sixth grader at Chukmuk Primary School. He will graduate from primary school in just a few short weeks, but his graduation wasn’t always a sure thing. In fact, in May of this year he was set on dropping out of school, an all-too-common reality for many young Guatemalans in the Lake Atitlán region. Salvador had been having some problems in class. Although he asked frequently to be allowed to sit up close to the whiteboard, his teacher refused—some of Salvador’s friends also sat up front and the teacher worried that they would become disruptive if allowed to sit together. The sixth grader said that he felt his teacher did not understand him, and a pattern of miscommunication developed between student and teacher. Eventually Salvador, frustrated, announced that he would not return to school, even though he was just months away from his primary school graduation.

Knowing that educational support comes in all forms, our team sprang into action. They visited Salvador and his family in their home. They listened patiently as the sixth grader refused, again and again, to go back to school. They visited his school, where they spoke with his teacher and even his principal. Weeks passed, but our team did not give up.

Finally, our team discovered that Salvador had been struggling with vision problems for quite some time. He had insisted on sitting close to the board—against his teacher’s wishes—because he was not able to see from his seat in the back row. He felt unheard in his classroom and upset at his resulting academic struggles, and by the time May rolled around he had reached his breaking point.

Once Salvador and his family realized what was going on, he was fitted for glasses, and thanks to the efforts of our team he was able to reconcile with his teacher and jump back into his last year of primary school on the right foot. Now Salvador will not only graduate—he will also continue his studies in middle school come next school year, on the condition that the healthcare portion of his sponsorship include regular check-ups with an eye doctor.

Salvador’s case reflects how sometimes a little bit of patience can solve the trickiest problems—even nearsightedness and miscommunication. Because of our team’s efforts, Salvador will stay in school, and from now on he’ll have the glasses he needs to succeed!

*National Institute of Statistics Guatemala, 2014. https://www.ine.gob.gt/sistema/uploads/2014/02/26/L5pNHMXzxy5FFWmk9NHCrK9x7E5Qqvvy.pdf

Links:

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Pueblo_a_Pueblo
Project Leader:
Andrew Wilson
Executive Director
Neenah, WI United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

Donate
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.