January 24, 2012
Dear friends, I want to wish everyone a belated happy new year. It’s been about a month since I last wrote to you and I thought it was time to send a quick update on the school project we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo in the highlands of Guatemala.
Last Monday students returned to class to begin a new school year, which will run until the end of October. The day marked another milestone in the development of the El Triunfo project as students in the school’s first grade eleven class began their studies. When we began this project in 2006, the school in El Triunfo only provided a primary school education up to grade six. In order to continue their education, students had to enroll in schools in larger towns, often at high cost. Most families could not afford this expense and many children didn’t even complete primary school. Boys went to work in the fields with their fathers and girls worked at home taking care of their younger siblings and learning the art of backstrap weaving. We started to provide scholarships to a handful of students to attend school in the town of Solola. But working with the community, we were able to establish a middle school in 2008 in El Triunfo which used the space of the primary school. Two years later, with our financial support, the community built a second floor expansion on the school building. This created the classroom space which enabled the launch of a high school (grades 10 to 12) last year.
I’ve already given you an update on my December visit to Guatemala in a previous post but I will share some photos and videos from you including my live Christmas present, an interesting Christmas display, sunset in El Triunfo, and the coffee harvest. You can see all of my photos from the school over the years here.
I’d also like you to place a hold in your calendar for the evening of February 24 for the First Annual Guatemalan Mid-Winter Bash. Complete details for the event will be announced soon but it promises to be a night full of food, fun, and drink with proceeds going to the school. While we hope this evening will raise a significant amount of money for the school, we welcome your donation all year round. Even if you missed supporting the project at the end of 2011, a donation this month can immediately be put to use. While the high school and middle school receive some funding from the Guatemalan Ministry of Education and the local municipality of Solola, we are responsible for paying the majority of the salaries paid out to the teaching and administrative staff in both the middle school (grades seven to nine) and high school (grades ten and eleven). In 2012, this will run over $3,600 per month and we’ll be sending this amount to Guatemala for the January pay period at the end of next week.
Tax deductible donations to the project can be directed to Pueblito Canada. You can donate online at http://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 @ The Centre for Social Innovation 215 Spadina Avenue Toronto, ON M5T 2C7 ATTN: El Triunfo School Project
I’d also like to thank the staff and volunteers of Pueblito Canada for their ongoing support. For more information on Pueblito and the other projects they support in Central America, please visit www.pueblito.org.
I hope to see you on February 24.