It's 7:30am and the doors are opening at Escuela Proyecto La Esperanza (the School of Hope) in Jocotenango, Guatemala. Already scores of happy, eager children are streaming in from nearby towns and villages. Together they play, run around and laugh - full of life and innocence. When the bell rings half an hour later, they excitedly dash to their classrooms, ready to begin another school day...
Without the school, things would be drastically different. 30% of those happy, smiling children come to school from the slums of Vista Hermosa, living in tough conditions on a steep hillside nearby. Without the work of EFTC, their parents wouldn’t have been able to afford to send them to school. The children would have likely joined the 20% of Guatemalan youngsters who form part of the country’s labour force if it wasn’t for the EFTC community.
The School of Hope burst into life on the morning of Monday 17th January 2011. A new, purpose-built school, it replaced the rented facility EFTC had been using, which was getting too small for the growing number of children. Katie Cunningham and Ricardo Pokorny sold the land on which the school now stands to EFTC at a massive discount and their generosity was matched by architect Pierre Turlin, who worked at greatly discounted rates in conjunction with local suppliers.The opening ceremony was a celebration both of hope for the future and the realisation of two years of hard work and fundraising. Alongside British Ambassador Julie Chappell, were those who worked together to bring the vision to life, as well as students, families, supporters and staff.
Without EFTC, our students would most likely
be working like 20% of children in Guatemala
In this spirit of kindness and generosity, the school now flourishes. As the children settle down for morning class, they work their way through the curriculum which includes Maths, Science, Spanish and Social Studies. They then have a short break where they receive a healthy snack and drink. Typical food given to them ranges from cereal and fruit to pancakes or a sandwich. For many of these children, this is the first thing they will eat that day.
More classes follow before the children break for a nutritious and balanced lunch and natural fruit drink. Here they receive the vitamins and nutrients that are all too often unavailable at home. After eating, the children can play games before classes continue through the afternoon. they are also are invited to take part in one of the exciting afterschool clubs. After lingering a while and saying goodbye to their friends the children head home, eagerly awaiting the next school day!
The School of Hope is so much more than a regular school.
It’s a school of opportunity and promise.
Where previously these children faced desperate futures, they now have positive choices: a range of alternatives to begging or working from a young age. It's a nurturing environment in which EFTC strives to provide a high quality education to ensure that every single child reaches their full potential and acquires the necessary skills to succeed in modern Guatemala. The children have computer skills and are working towards fluency in English. They can express themselves through dance, drama and creative writing. They can cook, make music, write for the school newspaper and excel in sport. These children can do anything they want to do and have the tools to open doors of opportunity and break free from the cycle of poverty.
Curious about how the School of Hope was founded? Read more!