Givology Staff's Blog

On Guatemala

Hi Givologists! Rachel here. Today we’re looking at Guatemala. A question to think about: how can we maintain the quality of education across different regions within a country?
Please feel free to leave any comments, insights, questions below!
Ten Facts about Education in Guatemala
(1) Primary school attendance (6 years, usually ages 7-13) is [b]free and compulsory[/b]. However, in more rural indigenous areas, there are few primary schools available to children.
(2) At the secondary education level, students have a greater range in what they can study; though most study teaching or bookkeeping, some schools also offer agronomy, auto-mechanics, computers, secretarial services, and tourism.
(3) [b]One half [/b]of the 14 million people of Guatemala are Mayan.
(4) Less than 30 percent of indigenous girls attend [b]secondary[/b] school.
(5) However, Guatemala has undergone an increase in [b]primary[/b] school enrollment rates (to almost 100 percent) in the past four years in Guatemala, with an almost equal enrollment of boys and girls.
(6) The highest percentages of children not in school are found in[b] rural areas[/b] (Alta Verapaz, Quiche and Huehuetenango) populated mainly by indigenous people.
(7) The length of time an indigenous child attends school is only [b]half as long[/b] as a non-indigenous child. Furthermore, it is more likely for indigenous students to repeat grades.
(8) Teachers often [b]lack formal training[/b], and schools have very limited supplies and resources.
(9) Many children in Guatemala choose to [b]drop out [/b]of school to make money on the streets, and often parents encourage their children to do so due to living situations.
(10) In 2008, the Education Department of Guatemala introduced a program called [b]Mi Familia Progresa[/b] (my family progresses), which gives families cash if they regularly send their kids to school. This program has helped 800,000 parents (about 6 percent of the population) in providing their children with an education.
With a history of civil war, poverty, malnutrition, gender inequality, and violence, Guatemala’s education system has been stunted. Guatemala City has been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Having traveled there on a missions trip last spring and gone into the ghettos and a women’s prison, it was hard to see the poverty, but inspiring to see the work being done by organizations and community leaders in the area.
In improving this education system and keeping these improvements sustainable, combating previous mindsets that families, communities, populations have is crucial. Many people do not see the value in enrolling their children in school. A partner organization of Givology, [url=]Starfish[/url], provides student scholarships and mentorships to girls in Guatemala, empowering these girls not only to change their own lives, but also the lives of their families and future generations.
[i]Girl Pioneers from Starfish![/i]
I first heard about Starfish while working on Givology’s e-book. The story below is one of my favorites, about how Starfish got its name (and overall vision) as an organization.[i]
One day a woman and her daughter were walking along the ocean when they observed thousands of starfish dotted on the beach. It was low tide, and the waves had carried in the starfish only to leave them stranded as the ocean receded. The mother sighed and turned away from the beach, wishing she could save all the helpless starfish. It was a few seconds before she noticed her daughter was missing by her side. She saw that her daughter was gently throwing one starfish after another back into the sea.
“What are you doing?” the mother asked.
“I’m helping the starfish,” the girl replied.
“But there are so many, and you can’t possibly be thinking you can save them all.”
The girl looked up at her mother with a smile before tossing another starfish back into the sea.
“No, but I can save this one.”[/i]
--excerpt from #GiveInspiration, “Starfish One by One”
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