Our school has grown tenfold since its inception sixteen years ago. This is both inspiring and challenging as we strive to meet our ever increasing costs. This year, sterling continues to suffer from uncertainty and is at levels significantly below the average since we have been active in Guatemala.
The increase affects every element of our school from purchasing books, paying our teachers' salaries to the nutritious meals the students need each day to concentrate on their studies.The result is that we find ourselves ever more stretched, facing 2020 with a significant funding gap of £70,000.
We provide education, nutrition, psychological support, safe buildings, equipped classrooms and hygienic bathrooms. This integrated approach reduces many of the obstacles our students face. But these individual elements are not just spokes in a wheel.
So what could we consider to close this funding gap. We could pause our nutrition programme this year? But these meals might well be the only food our students consume all day. We could stop our after school clubs? But these clubs are a vital lifeline to install respect, teamwork and combat gang culture. We could end student counselling sessions? But our students' mental health is key to our student’s staying and succeeding at school. We could cut our class intake to one rather than two? But these left behind children will continue to be stuck in a cycle of poverty. Remove one spoke and our wheel falls off. Every one of our students presents with different needs. Just one element of support could unlock the obstacle to whether a student comes to school, stays each day and ultimately graduates.
We have proven that university is an achievable goal for children from Jocotenango. We have proven that its children become adults who make a positive economic and social difference in their community.
Lidia is the youngest of seven children and is full of sass and potential. She loves to dance and color and isn't afraid to stand up to anyone, especially not to her three older brothers who also attend the school.
Celeste, who entered the School of Hope this year in the 9th grade, after her family banded together to make sure she didn't give up her education. For years the siblings were taking turns working, and studying, so that nobody had to drop out completely. She's the top student in the 9th grade and graduates this October. Next year she will study Business Administration.
Joel is studying Business Administration at University. He is also a regular substitute teacher at the School of Hope. The students love when Profe Joel covers their classes because his enthusiasm and positivity radiates around the classroom.
Axel is a very determined 2nd grader. He has a speech impediment that makes some subjects extra challenging for him. However, he has the support of our recent University graduate, Mylin, who comes to the school each week to give him speech therapy. Every week he feels more confident. It's also incredible seeing Mylin return to the school, to help a new generation of students have a brighter future.
Now we have to prove that we won’t fail them. We must continue to unblock obstacles, continue to fund all of the programmes that give them the power to be strong, transformative individuals within Jocotenango.
Education for the Children is run by talented, driven and compassionate people devoted to the value of education. But all of this means nothing without sustainable, committed funding. The foundation of our school’s income is the student sponsorship programme which is our biggest success. And we’d love you to be part of it. We offer sponsorships for primary, middle and further education students for their education, their nutrition and all the books and equipment they need to break their cycle of poverty and make a difference to their community. Sponsorships start from just £3 a month and you will be able to follow the progress of your student to see how your support is changing lives.
Sara Miller, Foundation Director