We have been working with Pena Blanca, an Indigenous community on the edge of Guatemala’s beautiful Lake Atitlan for a number of years. Over this period volunteers have joined us from around the world to work in the school providing much needed classroom assistance. In addition donors have given generously helping us to work with the community to make dramatic improvements to the standard of and accessibility to education.
Project director Dom Williams explains: 'There are now 6 regular teachers in the school and the government has started to increase their own food supplies for the school. Thanks to the past few years of our involvement, the realisation that the work is necessary has given the community new impetus to move forward on their own.'
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported us and the community during this time, none of this would have been possible without you.
We will now be focusing our efforts in Guatemala on our work near to Antigua. We have a separate project live for this project which can be seen here. We work with two communities and have established our own schools which provide free daily education and food programs to some of the areas poorest children.
We are delighted to share that GVI have just been announced winners of the best volunteer organization category at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who voted for and supported us.
GVI volunteers work on this project throughout the year making important hands on contributions to our work. The attached article explains some of the impact made on our project in Guatemala and elsewhere thanks to everyone’s hard work and support.
During June and August, 14 Whole Foods Market Team Members joined the project in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
While in the community school, Team Members and GVI staff covered over 350 hours of instruction time in grades K-6. The average class size ranges between 20-34 students, with 185 students in total. The school in Peña Blanca, Buena Vista has increased their enrollment by 10% from the previous year. GVI staff and TMs assisted and presented their own lessons during the morning session and gave an additional 1.5 hours of instruction in the afternoon in a class run exclusively by TMs and GVI staff. This class consisted of students in grades K-4. Peak numbers in the afternoon reached 32 in attendance and an average turnout of 23 students.
It is so great to see this project moving forwards with brilliant results in the school as the children progress.
The 2011 school year has started with the addition of 28 more students. Most are our youngest, grades Kindergarten and 1st grade.The total enrollment now stands at 198 students. The younger grades are focusing on basic numeracy and the Spanish alphabet, The majority of the students learn their ancestral language of Kakchiquel first. Spanish is their second language and the majority of the content, especially with our Kinergarten and 1st graders, is learning the Spanish language. The older students are taking classes in biology, social studies, mathematics and Spanish. Our challenge this year is to continue supporting the education of the children with the proper school supplies and materials to realize their lessons. With the increase in the school enrollment, it is essential that we also continue our food & fruit program that has helped so much in the educational development of the students Guatemala remains top on the list of countries in the Western Hemisphere that suffer from malnutrition With more students our funding for this initiative is vital to the success of the program.
In our community in Lake Atitlan, Pena Blanca, the school year has now come to an end and almost all the children will be moving into the next grade. It is so great to see these kids doing so well, earning an education and benefitting from the opportunities that this presents.
The food program in the school is doing very well meaning that each of the children receive nutritional meals when they come to school helping them to grow healthy and strong and concentrate in lessons.
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported this project through the year and made this possible.
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Project Leader: Ross Deans London,
Thanks to 205 donors like you, a total of
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.