Ups (mostly) and Downs of the School in Guatemala

June 1, 2014

Dear friends,

As we start the last month of the Canadian school year, the Guatemalan school year has reached the halfway point.

With your support, the project to support a middle school and a high school in the community of El Triunfo continues to astound, amaze but also frustrate me.

First, here’s some good news. I’ve received several inquiries about the status of the students from our first grade twelve class which graduated last year. This was one of the questions I wanted to find the answer to as I visited Guatemala over the May 24th holiday weekend.

I’m thrilled to report that all six graduates are working including one of the boys in the regional office of a large Mexican cement company and one of the girls with a law office. Antonio, the director of the high school, told me, “It was a small class but they were well prepared for work.” This is a really significant achievement for these six students and their families with meagre financial resources. As one current grade nine student told, “This school is a big help for me as my family doesn’t have the resources to send me to the private school.”

All six of these students are working this year!

All six of these graduates are working this year!

The achievement of the students has not been limited to the classroom and the workplace. In recent weeks, teams of girls from both the middle school and high school have won district wide soccer tournaments.

Here's the grade eight class. The girls are holding a trophy they recently won in a soccer tournament.

Here’s the grade eight class. The girls are holding a trophy they recently won in a soccer tournament.

A project to build a new computer lab is also underway thanks to the support of the Municipality of Sololá, the government of the Department of Sololá as well as some private donations. The project is still short some funds but they hope to have the resources in place shortly.

Computer Lab Construction

Computer Lab Construction

The current grade twelve class continues to work on their main project for the year which has a focus on natural foods and agricultural projects this year.

Our grade 12 class  this year.

Our grade 12 class this year.

But there are aspects of the project which are extremely frustrating. While both schools are required to jump through many of the bureaucratic hoops required by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry has provided few financial resources for the project. Last year, the project received a small amount of funding each month, including a portion of the salaries for the teachers. This year, I was told that the project has received nothing from the Ministry, which is extremely disappointing. Fortunately the teachers are still very happy to be working at the school and are very motivated in their work, part of which is the result of the training they received from one of the partners of Pueblito Canada last year. Hopefully some funding from the Ministry will arrive at the school in the near future.

You can check out additional photos from my May trip here.

I’m looking forward to attending the anniversary of the establishment of the middle school which will take placed from July 17 to 19. This community-wide celebration is always a fun event.

It’s been exciting to hear about the jobs that the graduates of the school have found. With your financial support, we can ensure that the current students can also graduate and look for employment opportunities that would not be available to them without this education.

Your donations are greatly appreciated by the students, teachers and parents in El Triunfo. Your tax deductible donations to the school 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

For more information on Pueblito and the other projects they support in Central America, please visit www.pueblito.org.

Hope to see you soon.

Ken

PS – Special thanks to Roanie & Eytan and family for their ongoing campaign to raise funds for the school!

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