On average, indigenous boys in Guatemala will attend school for 4 years. Indigenous girls, will only attend for 1.8 years. Most of these children are being pulled from school in order to work and support their families
Marginalized communities are caught in a vicious cycle. They aspire to give their children better lives, but they live in such poverty that they are forced to pull their children from school to work on family farms or businesses.Guillermo Perez, Program Director
We recognize that families in crisis are forced to make difficult choices that they would otherwise not make. More than 60,000 unaccompanied children have attempted to flee Central America since 2013, many of these coming from Guatemala. About 25% of the country’s population is illiterate, and 50% live below the poverty line and are malnourished. Young girls are often married and have their first child at age 12 or 13. Young boys are pulled out of school at roughly the same age to work to help support the family. The GAAP supports animal health and welfare, but this is a luxury that most families cannot afford in Guatemala.
The GAAP’s Family Sponsorship Program
We believe that healthy families translate into healthy animals. With this in mind, the GAAP sponsors families in Guatemala to keep children in school and provides them with year-round tutoring to ensure their success.
We hire local staff to monitor each child’s progress throughout the school year and attend regular teacher interviews to identify any problems in the classroom. Each child is individually tutored in English as well as their regular subjects and any classes that are particularly difficult are given extra attention. Report cards are monitored and extra practice before exams is offered.
Some of the issues facing these young children are problems arising at home. Many homes still have dirt floors, cooking is done over an indoor stove with poor ventilation, regular medical care and good nutrition is lacking. Our staff member visits the homes of the children and talks to their mothers and siblings to find out how the family is getting on. In some cases, serious health and nutrition deficits were identified, the child was treated by a local doctor and the food intake was altered to improve concentration and performance in school.
We support the cost of school enrollment, books, internet, school uniform and shoes and other school-related costs. We also support the lost wages of the child as he/she re-enters the school system; these are given to the mothers to manage at the beginning of each month.