July 2010 Update

July 13, 2010

Dear friends,

Five years ago in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Stan in Guatemala, a family in the village of El Triunfo gave me a letter. It explained how there is no publically funded education for students after grade six in Guatemala. This meant with the family’s meager income, none of their seven children would be able to advance past grade six. The letter asked me if I could provide a scholarship for each of their two eldest daughters to cover the costs for them to attend grade seven in a private school. I readily agreed. From that modest start, the project continued to grow in directions I didn’t imagine. Today there is a middle school in El Triunfo which currently has 65 students enrolled in grades seven, eight and nine. Tomorrow I will be going to Guatemala for the anniversary of the school, which will be attended by most of the families in El Triunfo tomorrow evening and Thursday.

This is the third year that you have helped to support the school. Our funds cover the costs to pay the salaries of the teachers and school director each month and also provide a small scholarship to each student. We have also sent an amazing $17,000 to Guatemala this year for the purchase of construction materials for the expansion of the school. This will create more classroom space that will enable the school offer its first grade ten class next year and grade eleven and twelve classes in subsequent years. The community has sent me photos of the ongoing construction. I’ve posted several of them to http://www.flickr.com/photos/29121052@N07/.

Donations to the project can be directed to Pueblito Canada. If you haven’t made your donation for 2010, please consider doing so now.  While we have paid the teacher’s salaries for the first half of the year, we still need to raise the money for the salaries during the second half, which is approximately $1800 per month. Plus we still haven’t given each student their annual scholarship (around $35 each).Thanks for your support so far this year. In case you are wondering, four of the seven children from the family I mentioned in the opening have attended the school. Of the two eldest daughters, one decided to stop her studies after grade nine but her sister has continued and is currently studying to be a secretary. It is a big achievement for the family as both her parents cannot read or write. To this day, I still don’t know who wrote the original letter which led us on this interesting journey.

Over the next week, please check my blog for updates and new photos.

Ken

PS – look for some exciting fundraisers coming up later this year including the annual infamous edition of “Ken’s Guatemalan Dance Party.” This could be the year that I actually dance!

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