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 work with the underfunded public school, taking care of the funding and management of a full-time teacher/coordinator who provides various services, including: homework help; library services; tutoring; organizing after-school activities; and coordination of selected educational activities. Due to lack of funding, the public school itself is not able to provide these services.
The Garden of Hope in Jocotengo was a model for our environmental education programs. In the Garden of Hope, we provided environmental education and activities to children who often don't have access to green space. In this program children learned about nutrition, the plant life cycle, and how to grow fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way. The garden provided a tranquil place where children and families could get away from the cars and concrete of their urban life. We are currently (as of September, 2021) moving the Garden of Hope to El Hato, so those programs are temporarily unavailable.
Finally, we hope to set up a project to provide job training for motivated students from El Hato and Jocotenango 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.