The cost of sending one child to school for one year is around $85. Your donation will improve the lives of Guatemalan children who do not have schools in their communities and it will give them access to education and health services through the GSP’s mobile schools program. GSP has been working with indigenous communities in Guatemala to start their own schools since 2005, and in 2019 began the mobile schools project which provides visiting teachers to 11 indigenous communities.
These communities continue to pressure the government to address their children’s legally guaranteed right to education, which the GSP supports through a community organizer who visits all 11 communities. The government ignores these communities’ existence in favor of large landowners and multinational corporations who exploit their ancestral lands. The majority of these communities are either currently facing the imminent threat of violent eviction or have already lived through the experience of hundreds of police and soldiers arriving to burn down their homes and subsistence crops. U.S and international corporations, with the support of the Guatemalan government, seek to displace communities in order to exploit natural resources in the indigenous ancestral territory, including mineral and hydroelectric resources, or monoculture agriculture such as African palm oil production and other exploitative mega-projects.
These extractive industries cause massive devastation to one of the most biodiverse and heavily forested countries on the planet, in addition to the lack of development for local communities. The teachers travel to each community on a rotating basis and the classes focus on increasing reading, writing, and math comprehension. Classes for children take place five days a week between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm. Classes for adults take place two to four days per week in the afternoon and evening and last less than two hours. In addition to the teachers visiting each community, the project also includes a nurse/community organizer.
These communities confront a lack of access to health care and an overwhelming majority of children in these communities are chronically malnourished. Most also have additional untreated illnesses and infections, such as parasites or chronic skin problems. A significant cause is the lack of access to clean water and basic health care, as government vaccination and deworming campaigns are only available through the public school system.
Basic health care at rural and regional public health posts is difficult to access because of the cost and the distance required to travel. The nurse/community organizer collaborates with the GSP to organize monthly medical delegations led by Guatemalan physicians, distribute medications, coordinate health care access with regional clinics and health care providers, and lead workshops on hygiene, clean water, and women’s health. This gives these communities access to vaccines, deworming, basic hygiene and other key preventative health care services that the government fails to provide them.The nurse/community organizer also works to assist the teachers and communities through the difficult process of applying for a school from the government, as well as forming community committees and helping facilitate collaboration with partner organizations.
The GSP has had previous success in transitioning these schools to full-time government run schools, although it requires significant work.The GSP also works with the teachers and organizer to install and support water filter systems. These are small systems consisting of a larger (approximately 50 gallons) water tank for dirty water, hoses, a Sawyer water filter and a smaller (approximately 5 gallons) water tank for clean water. One system is installed in each school to provide access to clean drinking water for the students.
None of these communities have electricity, although several of them have been attacked and/or displaced to make room for the construction of massive hydroelectric dams which generate electricity for export only. A tremendous amount of electricity is generated in their ancestral territory while they remain in the dark, and multinational companies profit from this exploitation. The GSP has previously helped partner schools obtain solar power and will continue these efforts with communities participating in the mobile school program.Please visit our website, guatemalasolidarityproject.org to learn more about the communities your donation will directly benefit. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or if you are interested in becoming involved further.