Grant Status $1515 needed

Escuela Caracol +
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Expected Usage of Funding
Supplies, Furniture:
$0
Labor and Salaries:
$0
Transportation:
$0
Raw Materials:
$0
Research:
$0
Administrative:
$0
Other:
$5000

Profile

Escuela Caracol is an intercultural Waldorf school that was founded in 2007 in San Marcos La Laguna, a Kaqchikel community on the shores of Lake Atitln, Guatemala.

In a country still recovering from a 36 yearlong civil war that ended less than two decades ago, there is a great need for our healing and comprehensive educational community. Our commitment to building intercultural solidarity is serving an increasing number of families in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. What 8 years ago started with a group of 12 children is now a solid model for educational renewal with more than 80 children, over 85% of them indigenous maya receiving sponsorship that includes fees, class materials and two nutritious meals a day. In 2015 our enrollment increased by 35%!

Waldorf education is a natural fit for this Guatemalan community. Its salutogenic nature, bringing social and individual healing, the focus on the freedom, equality and solidarity, the creative expression, the practical work, the natural environment and the social harmony are part of each day at Escuela Caracol. Also local mayan indigenous customs are celebrated and honored as a consistent inspiration for the emergence of a new culture. We honor our roots while we open to the world.

History

Escuela Caracol is located in one of the poorest regions in Guatemala, with a high rate of iliteracy and malnutrition. One and the other are very close and related: no food leads to no literacy, and no literacy leads to no food. Being aware of this, Escuela Caracol has been supporting a Lunch Program since the very beginning. We provide two nutritious meals a day to more than 80 students and 20 staff members.
Our kitchen covers basic nutritional needs and much more. The food is prepared with natural and organic ingredients mostly purchased from local producers. The woman in charge of the kitchen is a mother of our educational community. Here, the kitchen takes a central role in conducting a nutrition that is not only physical but also emotional.

Impact

Our intercultural community is learning and growing together. In adittion to the sponsorship that we give to every indigenous maya student (while the real cost of their education is $250, they pay the simbolic amount of $6), our teachers continue their work by studying to become Waldorf certified through programs in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. One of our founding teachers, Andrea Arrivillaga, became the first Guatemalan to earn her Waldorf Teacher Certification for Primary Grades, and Maribel Mendoza made history by becoming the first Indigenous woman to earn her Waldorf Teacher Certification in Early Childhood. Our school is inspiring the community of San Marcos in its material, mental, emotional and spiritual development in ways that still surprise us. Some community members are now beginning to demand that the public schools implement pedagogical practices similar to ours. This is especially notable when you consider that many of these public schools still make use of teaching methods where violence and humiliation are part of the everyday experience.
Escuela Caracol is truly a social change agent and is attracting the attention of institutions, individuals, media and other social projects. As an example, we are working very closely with other local projects as Konojel, a Nutrition Center that works in San Marcos La Laguna. Konojel also has an amazing lunch program, and after receiving their meal, 100 children stay for an education program that the have impulsed. The professionals that set-up this educational program for Konojel worked closely with Escuela Caracol to star implementing our pedagogical principles in their program.

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