I often get people who ask what I do here in Guatemala, and after explaining it to them, they often want to know if I can come to my project in their area. So, a friend of mine who does fundraising for a lot of different projects sat down with me the other day and we crunched some numbers. We learned that it currently only requires $250/month to add another location to the project; this amount may go up in the future if students start going to the university--but there are free universities in Guatemala if you’re good enough to get in--or saving their points to buy more expensive items as the point-money ratio is on a curve.
This provides school supplies to approximately 25 school children and food staples for 10-12 families, roughly 80 people. Depending on the community leader and his or her level of initiative, this also provides secular and religious workshops for both parents and children. For those of you who aren’t aware of how the program works, the students attend their normal community schools where they are given number grades starting in first grade. Those number grades are then translated into program points which they can use much like money to purchase things from the program. In Guatemala, a student needs to have an average of 60 in each class to pass the school year. Because we know that accidents can happen, we push the kids to have a 70 in each class just in case that last marking period is a bad one. (If they finish the school year with less than a 60 in 1-2 classes, they can take another test covering all of the material in that course from the whole school year. If they have less than 60 in three or more classes, they have to repeat the school year.) However, to earn a point, students have to get at least a 77-79 in a class; that lower range is a little flexible just because some kids just need to feel like they’ve accomplished something. If they earn an 88, they receive 2 point in that class, and if they earn a 97, they get three points. So, they’re actually earning the points which they use to buy the dry goods or shoes or school supplies or whatever else they choose to purchase through the program.
That being said, we’re hoping to add not one, but two, new communities next year. Perhaps it’s a little optimistic, but as we’re not currently using all of our monthly funds, we do have some savings to hold us through until we get the ball rolling. Even some Guatemalans have approached me asking how they can donate. We’re planning on re-adding the other community I was working with in Solola the first year and perhaps adding a location in the town where I was living up until recently. It’s all very exciting and I’m so glad that I can share this with you!