Location of Impact
In Guatemala, where over 50% of the population lives below the poverty line, socioeconomic status is one of the biggest barriers to accessing a quality education (World Bank 2013). The average length of schooling for a Guatemalan child is only 4 years and 24.1% of the population is illiterate (US Aid 2014; World Bank 2014).
Pencils of Promise works with 163 communities in Guatemala to ensure our students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing a quality education. To date, PoP has impacted over 217,000 lives in Guatemala.
BOCA COSTA REGION
The region of Boca Costa, located southeast of PoP’s Guatemala headquarters in Xela, is home to a more tropical climate than any of the other Guatemalan regions in which we work. PoP expanded to Boca Costa in early 2012, with our regional office located in Santo Tomás La Unión.
To date, we have built over 80 schools in Boca Costa and plan to continue to scale our builds, along with teacher training workshops, across PoP schools in the region.
Primary school students of Comunidad Candelaria, Rio Bravio Suchitepequez in Guatemala did not have access to formal classrooms. Instead, they were taught in a provisional structure made of metal sheets and wire, supported by wooden poles. The building showed signs of deterioration, evidenced by rusty corrugated metal and moldy wooden beams. During the summer, the space was uncomfortably hot and congested due to overcrowding. As a result, students had difficulty concentrating and staying focused.
Stuart Weitzman recognized that these conditions were not conducive to learning and responded by helping PoP and the Candelaria community break ground on a new school. Teachers, parents and community members were dedicated and committed to the project, contributing up to 20 percent of resources and labor. After four months, we mounted the plaque and inaugurated the school, concluding tireless work to build a five-classroom school equipped with acoustic-insulated roofing, ceiling fans, blackboards, benches, desks, doors, walls and windows. Stuart Weitzman made this school build possible, creating a safe and strong structural foundation that will allow the students in Comunidad Candelaria to learn and realize their potential and their promise.