Young people living in poverty in Guatemala face many challenges regarding health, education and employment. There are programs in place addressing such needs, but due to a critical lack of resources, there are gaps in existing services. As under-served children reach adolescence, their opportunities diminish. We hope to bridge some of those gaps so that disadvantaged youth will have the opportunity to earn a living wage with the education and skills they have developed, and in turn will be able to contribute to their communities in a positive way.
We do this in three ways:
Environmental education programs
Job training for youth
Our work in El Hato is a model for our student support. In the El Hato Literacy Center we supplement the work of the underfunded public school. We have a full-time teacher on staff and our partner organization Las Manos de Christine provides a part-time teacher. Together, they provide students with homework help, library services, tutoring, and after-school activities.
The Garden of Hope in El Hato is a model for our environmental education programs. In the Garden of Hope, we provide environmental education and activities to children and parents who often don't have access to green space. In this program participants learn about nutrition, the plant life cycle, and how to grow fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way. The garden provides a tranquil place where children and families can get away the four walls of indoor spaces.
Finally, our third goal is aspirational. We hope to set up a program to provide job training for motivated students from El Hato who have participated in the two programs described above. Very often motivated students do not have the resources to go to college, but with guidance and training they can develop marketable job skills. We’ll train these students and then coordinate with local businesses to give them their first job opportunities. Possible employment areas include: eco-tourism, cooking (for restaurants), permaculture, organic agriculture and carpentry.