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.