Middle and high school education is not free in Guatemala. Aldea Maya started the Chuk Muk middle school in 2012. Our project increases education accessibility by paying school fees and providing school supplies to Tzu'tujil Mayans in their own village. In addition, we have a learning centre that offers free internet, photocopying, tutoring and a lending library which allows the students to complete school project at no charge and gives our program a holistic approach.
The inhabitants of Chuk Muk are survivors of the 2005 Panabaj mudslide that killed hundreds and decimated a village. The survivors, many who are single parents, were moved to a new village which is far from farm land and the town, but in a safer location. This new location makes it difficult to earn money and as a result the villagers suffer from extreme poverty. The cost of education past primary school is not possible for most families. As a result the circle of poverty continues.
Since starting the middle school in 2012 we have helped over 100 students to complete grade 9. We have increased accessibility to education by providing a school in their village, eliminating the costs of daily travel. We have supplied school supplies to every student in grades 7, 8 and 9 for seven years and helped the families to cover the school fees. Our learning centre keeps students in school as the cost of completing school projects is prohibitive in most families.
All middle school students volunteer helping elementary students that are struggling. After a student has completed middle school we work to find sponsors to enable students to complete high school and university. In 2019, 24 students will be attending university. When you considered that in 2011 less than one percent were going pass elementary school in this village, the impact on levels of literacy and numeracy is astounding. We are building the future leaders of Chuk Muk.