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 164 communities in Guatemala to ensure our students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing a quality education. To date, PoP has impacted over 218,000 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 our Teacher Support program, across PoP schools in the region.
Previously, pre-primary and second-grade students in Caserio El Chaguital’s community did not have access to formal classrooms. While the school’s older students had dedicated learning spaces, younger students attended class in a provisional structure made of cement and wooden poles holding up a corrugated tin roof. The structure’s foundation was rotting and the classrooms were starting to crumble, posing a threat to the safety of students and teachers. The classrooms lacked formal doors and windows, which made it easy for dust and bugs to get into the rooms during the school day, creating an uncomfortable learning environment for students.
The open-air environment also left students completely exposed to the elements. When it rained, the water came through the classroom walls, soaking students’ desks. In the winter, the classrooms were especially cold since the cement walls were not properly insulated but when it was hot in the summer, the walls trapped the heat inside the classrooms. Despite these conditions, El Chaguital’s teachers remained committed to their students and were determined to provide them with a quality education.
At the end of August we completed the build in Caserio El Chaguital and were able to mount the plaque and inaugurate the school shortly thereafter, concluding tireless work to construct the two-classroom space for pre-primary and second-grade students. El Chaguital’s pre-primary and second-grade classrooms are now equipped with acoustic-insulated roofing, ceiling fans, white boards, benches, desks, doors, walls and windows. As a direct result of the Shumard Foundation’s grant, every student at El Chaguital now has access to a formal, safe and comfortable educational environment.