Support Educational Opportunities for Youth in Guatemala
27 February 1999
In the afternoons, Monday through Friday, Inocente teaches primero (first) through quinto (fifth), then in the evenings he catches up with primero basico, segundo basico, and tercero basico. On Saturdays, he goes over some of the lesson plans that the Guatemalan Institute of Radio Education broadcasts during the week.
Today, Victor Manuel
took over teaching natural science to Luis, Jorge, and Alfonso:
the segundo basico class. Before class, though, we all listened to the radio for a while. The students and I talked about what kind of music we all liked, because I've been missing my favorite radio station in San Diego. It turns out that we all like to dance!
OK, let's be honest here. How many people LIKE school? How many people like getting up in the morning and rushing off to class? How many people like doing homework? I confess: I'm actually one of those people who did like school, even if I didn't always love doing homework.
Now imagine if you aren't allowed to go to school. Imagine you are kept at home to work with your parents--and not for money so you can go out with friends--the money goes straight into the pot with your parents' money for food and clothes! It might be fun for a while. You'd probably learn a lot by working, and you'd get to see your parents...
How would that affect the rest of your life? What kinds of opportunities would you have if you never got to go to school? Unfortunately these are the questions that most youth in Guatemala have to ask themselves. Only 1% of indigenous youth graduate from college.
Inocente, the head teacher here, asked me to ask you if you can help with becas, or scholarships, for the sons and daughters of the women's group with which I am working. Inocente explained that here in Concepción, 20-25% of the men can speak Spanish, and about 10% of the women. The majority of people speak mainly Kakchiquel, and don't know either how to read or write. Because of this, Inocente spends a lot of time teaching the pequeñitos, the really little kids, how to hold a pencil or pen and how to draw on paper. "Education," he says, "is a tool. It's important for the people here to know how to read and write, or to speak and understand Spanish."
The children he teaches usually work during the day, with their families, so they are free for school in the late afternoon and evening. However, sometimes they simply can't come to class because they need to help earn money for their families. Because of this even a small scholarship, to help pay for notebooks and supplies, goes a long way.
The following is a formal request that Inocente wrote for you. Please read what he has to say, and think about how you can help him in some way in his struggle to give youth here the opportunity to learn.
Por este medio del internet, desde nuestra oficina de la Asociación Estudiantil y Promotores de
Derechos Humanos reciba un fraterno saludo y esperando que su labor
cotidiano se este desarrollando con exitos.
El objeto de la presente es para SOLICITARLE lo siguiente:
- Un pizzaron formica y marcadores de agua.
- Dos mesas con sillas.
- Cuatrocientos cuadernos de líneas de ochenta hojas, cien de cuadrìcula
de ochenta hojas y cien cuadernos sin líneas de cuarenta hojas.
- Cien lapiceros de color azul, cien lapiceros de color negro y cien de color rojo y doscientos lapices con borrador, cincuenta reglas o escalas.
- Sesenta libros de textos de Ciencias naturales, Estudios Sociales, Matematica e Idioma Español.
- Sesenta escritorios y
- Una maquina de escribir.
Esta ayuda que solicitamos en el presente documento, va dirigido para 10
alumnos de preprimaria, 10 alumnos de primer grado de primaria, 10 alumnos
de segundo grado de primaria, 9 alumnos de tercero primaria, 8 alumnos de
cuarto grado de primaria, 2 alumnos de quinto grado de primaria, 4 alumnos
de primero basico y 4 alumnos de segundo basico. Estos son los estudiantes
de la Asociaciñn Estudiantil y Promotores de Derechos Humanos ASEPDEH-GAM,
en el municipio de Concepción del departamento de Solola.
Tomando en cuanta la situacion precaria de la población, que
esta en extrema pobreza y los padres de familias carecen de recursos
economicos, por esta razon para ellos es dificil que puedan mandar a los niños a estudiar en la escuela, con todo lo expuesto solicitamos su apoyo y solidaridad, ya que con su apoyo y
solidaridad estarían beneficidos la cantidad de alumnos indicados arriba.
Sin otro particular, nos suscribimos de usted esperando su solidaridad y
apoyo desde ya estamos agradecidos.
By way of the internet, from our office at the Association of Students and Human Rights Supporters, we send you a brotherly salutation and hope your daily labor is developing with much success.
The purpose of this message is to solicit your support in acquiring the following:
- A white board and markers.
- Two tables with chairs.
- 400 notebooks with 80 lined pages, 100 graph paper notebooks, and 100 without lines.
- 100 blue pens, 100 black pens, 100 red pens, 200 pencils with erasers, 50 rulers.
- 60 textbooks in each of the following subjects: Natural Sciences, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Spanish Language. All of these should be in Spanish.
- 60 student desks.
- A typewriter.
This support that we are seeking in this proposal will go to support the following students:
10 kindergartners, 10 first graders, 10 second graders, 9 third graders, 8 fourth graders, 2 fifth graders, 4 sixth graders, and 4 seventh graders.
They are students of the Association for Students and Human Rights Supporters of the Group for Mutual Support (ASEPDEH-GAM) in the town of Concepción of the departent of Sololá.
Taking into account the precarious situation of the population, which is living in extreme poverty and whose parents lack economic resources, making it difficult for them to send their children to study in school, with all we have shown, we solicit your help and solidarity, given that with your support the large number of students indicated above would benefit.
In closing, know that we are thankful and await your solidarity and support.
Please send what support you can provide to the following address. Inocente has made arrangements for any duplicate supplies which arrive to be shared with the associated grassroots education programs that GAM supports. Or you may e-mail them to confirm they have not yet received what you intend to send so there is no duplication. And if you are reading this many months or years after it was written, please e-mail to confirm the best address!
Thank you so much,
Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo
8a Calle 7-46, Zone 1
Mail To: Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo
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