Making a Difference Here
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 four years and 24.1% of the population is illiterate (US Aid 2014; World Bank 2014).
Pencils of Promise works with 190 communities in Guatemala to ensure our students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing a quality education. Currently, PoP is impacting over 37,000 students in Guatemala.
The region of Suchitepéquez, called Suchi by locals, lies southeast of our headquarters in Xela. PoP expanded here in early 2012, with our regional office located in Mazatenango.
Suchitepéquez offers a variety of exotic fruits and coffee as main crops, and the climate is much more tropical than the other regions in which we work. To date, we’ve broken ground on 47 schools in Suchitepéquez and plan to continue our partnership with these communities for years to come.
Before a PoP School Build
Previously, students of Paraje Chi Elias Vista Linda attended class in an environment that did not support their full potential. Grade one students learned in a provisional wooden classroom that offered little protection from the weather, and class was frequently disrupted because of this. Grade two students attended class in a room made of clay and wood that lacked windows and had deep structural flaws. These conditions clearly posed a hazard to student safety and well-being, as well as to engagement and learning.
The New PoP School
We’ve recognized that these conditions are not conducive to learning and have responded by building a new two-classroom block to replace the provisional rooms. These classrooms provide sufficient space for all students, as well as a safe and secure environment for students to learn and thrive. Teachers, parents and other community members were dedicated and committed to the project, and contributed 20 percent of the resources and labor necessary to complete the build. The entire Paraje Chi Elias Vista Linda community is so excited to now have a new school that is unlocking each student’s unique promise!