The Real Life Impact of a Classroom Sponsorship
November 20, 2019
“As a teacher in Guatemala, I make minimum wage, and I spend about about 15% of my salary each month on materials such as pencils, paper, and notebooks for my students. The government does not supply many resources in our school system, and they give even less in rural areas like mine. Half of my students can’t afford to buy their own supplies, so I end up having to pay for most of it out of my own pocket.”
Gloria lives in a bright yellow house, tucked away in the small village of Chicamen. Here, you will find about 1,000 people and the sounds of roosters crowing and dogs barking. We are welcomed with flowers, warm smiles and embraces from Gloria and her four girls.
Gloria begins to describe her early years growing up in her beloved Chicamen. She explains that her school had dirt floors, and walls made of aluminum. The classroom was packed with fifty students and one teacher. As the year went on, those fifty students slowly dwindled away, because their families needed them to begin working in the fields to put food on the table.
Fast forward to 2019. Gloria is now teaching the children of her classmates. As a result of dropping out of school at a young age, many of the parents are illiterate and do not hold consistent jobs. Out of her 25 students, half of her class can’t afford school supplies. I ask, “How are these students still in school if they can’t afford the materials?’ She responds “I buy them.”
“As a teacher in Guatemala, I make minimum wage, and I spend about about 15% of my salary each month on materials such as pencils, paper, and notebooks for my students. The government does not supply many resources in our school system, and they give even less in rural areas like mine.”
“Why do you do it?”
“To better the lives of my students. They all have dreams to work hard and have good jobs in the future, and it’s my job to help them get there.”
The cycle of insufficient education in Chicamen continues, but it’s not for a lack of teachers caring. It’s because of a lack of resources and training.
“When we saw the trainings and the materials that Project Apoyo created for us and will give us, we were so excited! We have never received anything like this. It’s simple but effective, and it will help us a lot.”
As I am packing up Gloria’s new 2020 curriculum resources, Gloria’s daughter, Lulu, comes in smiling from ear to ear. She proudly shows us her Project Apoyo sticker she has placed on her notebook. It hits me: more than just receiving new resources and trainings, the people of Chicamen now feel loved and supported. And for us, that is the best gift of all.
We are fighting to give resources and professional development to 27 classrooms at La Escuela Chicamen and The School of Hope. That’s 27 classrooms that will send their sponsors emails, letters and videos connecting students and teachers from Guatemala. 27 classrooms connecting with sponsors for a real, life-changing impact.
Opening the doors to opportunity and breaking the cycle of poverty means just $31 a month for 12 months from you, but it means a lot more to students, teachers, families and communities in Guatemala. When doors open, lives change.
Ali New, Director of Education