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In Guatemala, where 59% of the population lives below the national poverty line, socioeconomic status is one of the biggest barriers to accessing quality education (World Bank 2014).
The average length of schooling for a Guatemalan child is only four years and 19% of the population is illiterate (US Aid 2014; World Bank 2018).
Pencils of Promise works with 255 communities in Guatemala to ensure students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing quality education. Currently, PoP is impacting over 47,000 students in Guatemala.
Suchitepéquez, commonly called “Suchi” by locals, lies southeast of our headquarters in Quetzaltenango. Pencils of Promise expanded here in early 2012, with our regional office located in the capital of Mazatenango.
Suchitepéquez harvests a variety of fruits and coffee (and some of the best chocolate in the region), and the climate is much more tropical than the other areas in which we work due to its lower altitude and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. There are approximately 600,000 residents of the department, and the languages that are spoken here are Spanish, K’iche, Tz’utujil and Kaqchikel.
The Mandelbaum's Impact in Suchitepéquez Department
Japon Nacional previously had 2 formal classrooms for pre-k, third and fourth grades and 1 provisional informal classroom for first and second grades. Students in fourth and fifth grades received classes under trees and a corridor during the rainy seasons. Additionally, the school had 3 bathrooms that needed repairs.
PoP partnered with the Suchitepequez community to build a school complete with 2 new PoP classrooms, repairs to the previous formal classrooms, 4 restrooms and a hand washing station. We completed construction and celebrated an inauguration ceremony with the community in 2022.
The new Japon Nacional school will provide a high-quality learning environment where every child can reach their unique potential.
Download photos from the community!
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