There are many public schools in Guatemala that are neglected, poorly funded or don't have sufficient resources. With the majority of Guatemalan children going to these schools, you can see where some of the country's problems lie.
This week we are launching a new initiative: children from two public schools in Guatemala will produce a creative writing piece. Our teachers will choose the best 5 based on imagination, spelling and grammar. We will then send them to you to judge the final winning piece (you can sign up here). Our teachers do not correct any of the entries so we hope this gives you a true glimpse of what life in Guatemalan communities is like.
The incentive for the children and schools are two-fold:
We hope to encourage creative writing amongst young children through various workshops that our teachers will hold. We also want them to be able to express themselves as well as think about various issues, such as the environment.
The two schools have chosen items, which they need (from stationary to sports equipment to desks). Each month we will donate 20% of the item's cost to the winning school. We do not ask for any money from our own Spanish Marks' students, and this will come out of income from our own Spanish lessons. We will hold the competition every month, allowing each school the chance to build up it's funds to be able to purchase their chosen item, and more students get a chance to participate.
About the schools:
Caserio Chanshenel and Las Barrancas are two schools in the municipality of San Juan Ostuncalco. Both schools are situated in communities of around 1,500 people. The men in these communties are predominately working as farmers or in construction work. The women wash clothes or sell bags of fruit.
In the case of Las Barrancas, there was an earthquake in 2012 which destroyed the school building. Luckily no one was injured or killed but the government refused to rebuild the school until after their next elections in 2015. This meant for nearly 3 years the children of the community had even fewer resources to help them develop.
Please get involved:
All forms of education are the cornerstones of development. Lack of resouces means that many people in Guatemala do not receive proper education and therefore cannot leave their situation. Hopefully our creative writing project can provide some resources as well as give readers and those who participate a better idea of what life is like in Guatemala.
If you would like to get invovled and be sent the sem-finalist entries each month to judge, please sign up here! You will be helping Guatemalan school children, improving your Spanish reading skills and not spending a penny of your own money.
Winning students' entries:
Well done to iliberto Garcia Agustin - a student from Las Barrancas school - who was voted first by our students and readers of our blog! Elder writes about his community and his experience of how the environment should be kept clean. For the prize, we will be donating funds towards his school's chosen item of writing equipment.
Well done to Elder Nicodemo Carreto Vail - a student from Las Barrancas school - who was voted first by our students and readers of our blog! Elder writes about his community and his experience of how the environment should be kept clean. For the prize, we will be donating funds towards his school's chosen item of writing equipment.
*The English translation is below*
In the village called Los Barrancas of the municipility of San Juan Ostuncalco they used to conserve the flora and fauna but since a few years ago many people start to contaminate the environment.
There are two rivers here, one called Naranjo River and the other San Miguel River. There are many crops and plenty of fruits such as banana, mandarins, platanos, lemons and coffee.
The rivers are contaminated because many people come and throw rubbish there. Also they use it as drainage of human waste. Many people do no think that when the water stops we are going to drink from the rivers and if the people keep on throwing rubbish the water is going to be completely contaminated.
The people of the village cut many trees and do not sew anything. This also causes contamination because the trees give us healthy air to breate and make our lungs good.
When I walk to school I see a lot of rubbish thrown on the street. If I see a small child throwing rubbish I tell them not to do it because it is not good to contaminate our town. The child is obedient and picks it up and takes it to school to put in the rubbish bins.
In my town there are animals and the people hunt these animals to feed their dogs. I always ask my dad to tell the people not to hunt the animals and contaminate our environment.
I hope that one day we will not contaminate our environment and we live happily. Contamination causes sicknesses in our bodies and more so in the small children. For this reason we should take care of our environment.