If you’re a frequent donor at SeeYourImpact.org I bet you noticed the number of gifts expanding in Latin America. Recently, I visited a few of our charity partners in Guatemala and met personally with children who have been helped through SeeYourImpact.org.
When thinking back on the trip, it’s the children that are engraved in my memory. Everywhere I went I noticed a large number of children working by peddling on the streets, tending stalls in markets, working in their parent’s bodega, helping at a restaurant and farming in rural villages.
Most businesses relied on the help of the entire family. The kids ranged in age; generally once kids were old enough to count they were part of the labor force.
During my visit, teachers working for the Ministry of Education were on strike. Did this impact my perspective? Yes, some schools were closed in the areas that I visited. In fact, we were unable to visit a kindergarten in a rural village in the District of Chimaltenango because the classroom was empty.
Who wants to visit an empty classroom? I believe that the strike increased the number of children that I saw working, but in a country where only 23% of adolescents attend secondary education I’m not sure if this was the main factor.
I visited five schools and spoke individually with 25 students. I was impressed. The kids were driven and realized how lucky they are to have the opportunity to continue their education. I visited schools in Guatemala City, the City of Chimaltenango and in rural villages with only 100 families.
I was extremely fortunate to meet Edwin, a student studying architecture in Chimaltenango. Edwin shares a one room flat with his brother a few blocks from school. The rest of his family lives in a village with 25 families four hours from his school. When he was younger Edwin walked a few hours to attend grade school because bus service is sporadic in his small village. Most of his classmates in school ended up working when they finished grade school because his community does not have a high school.
Now, he is studying architecture at a vocational school and aspires to become a draftsman after graduation to help support his family. In this picture he’s standing in front of a model that he created as a class project. Edwin grew up 8 hours from a skyscraper and has only been to Guatemala City once!
How can you help?
We work with a number of charity partners supporting education in Guatemala. When I was there, I saw first-hand how your small gift has changed lives.