Update for March 2011

March 1, 2011

Dear friends,

The school year is continuing in Guatemala for the school we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo in Guatemala. I’m pleased to let you know that we have around 80 students enrolled in the combined middle school (instituto basico) and high school (diversificado) in grades seven to ten. In addition to the new supplies which were purchased in January, the teachers were delighted to have the photocopier repaired as well.

 I’d like to thank everyone who came out to my birthday party at the start of February in Toronto and those who weren’t able to attend but still made a donation. We raised a little over $1200. Thanks for the support.

When the high school classes started this year, we essentially started a new school. Under the rules set out by the Minister of Education in Guatemala, we also had to hire an entire set of new teachers. We had hoped to have some of the existing middle school teachers to teach in the high school but it wasn’t permitted. The good news about this is that the school is providing much needed work for another set of teachers who are generally underpaid and under-employed throughout the country. But this also means that our expenses for the salaries of the teachers (including two school directors) have almost doubled to around $3500 per month.

 The Consejo Comunitario de Desarrollo (community development council)in El Triunfo, who I work with on the school, is still speaking with the Ministry of Education to allow some  teachers, most notably the computer instructor, to teach in both the middle and high schools. I’ll keep you posted on these developments as this would partially reduce the expenses for the year.  In the meantime, your financial support of the project would be appreciated. We had an amazing year last year raising the money needed to build a second floor on the school (see the photos from the inauguration of the expansion) and we need to continue the support for the school this year.

Donations to the project can be directed to Pueblito Canada. You can donate online at www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=25964  (Click on “Donate Now.” Then under “Fund/Designation,” select “El Triunfo School Project.”  Or you can also send a cheque payable to Pueblito Canada to:

Pueblito Canada
El Triunfo School Project
The Centre for Social Innovation
Suite 165 – 215 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2C7

Plans are also still moving forward for the travel seminar to Guatemala with Pueblito Canada which I mentioned last month. The seminar is tentatively scheduled to leave Toronto on Saturday, July 9 with a return on Sunday, July 16. This would permit us to attend the annual anniversary celebrations in El Triunfo for the school on July 13 & 14. Other visits would include stops at weaving and coffee cooperatives and speakers on the political, social and environmental realities of Guatemala today. Please let me know if you are interested in participating. We hope to confirm details such as the price shortly.

I’ll be heading to Guatemala later this month so look for a new update, including photos, after March 20.

 Ken

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