Our project, Mano a Mano Para el Desarrollo, empowers and supports the children of Tz'utujil Maya weavers in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala with a multi-generational and local focus. We aim to create an academic center that provides complete financial assistance for school supplies, personal development workshops, and adequate academic support for the children of Cojolya.
In the predominantly indigenous town of Santiago Atitlan, school dropout rates are unsettling, with enrollment falling to 24% after the 6th grade. Consequently, Guatemala has the second lowest literacy rate in Latin America. According to UN, each additional year of schooling increases a person's income by 10%. We identified three core problems that contribute to high dropout rates of our students: the financial barriers; the lack of indigenous academic mentors; and the lack of academic support.
We seek to increase school enrollment rates for our program's 13 children. While financial support is vital, we understand that a successful program requires a holistic approach. Our approach is multifaceted, and will confront all identified barriers to staying in school through providing: vital financial support, informative and interactive personal development tools, and a safe and adequate academic mentorship, all in order to holistically empower and support our students and their families.
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 spans generations. We firmly believe that these children have the potential to not only experience social mobility but also give back to their resilient indigenous community. Mano a Mano will thereby be a pillar of the value of education in Santiago Atitlan: a value that will continue to flourish for generations to come.