It’s not happening in Guatemala!
The children of El Yalu
Achieving universal primary education was one of eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. All 189 United Nations member states (including Guatemala) agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015.
However, as we come closer to the established date for achieving those goals, the reality is that Guatemala has fallen far short in complying with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) drawn up by the U.N.
According to the Coordination of NGO and Cooperatives (CONGCOOP), 53 per cent of Guatemala’s population suffers from poverty and almost three million suffer daily hunger, with half of the children under the age of five being malnourished.
74.5 per cent of the economically active population in Guatemala is underemployed. And while 85 per cent of school age children have access to primary education, less than a third go on to attend schooling beyond 6th grade. (Note: that percentage is even much lower in the rural areas where Avivara focuses most of its efforts.)
“Guatemala will arrive at the United Nations General Assembly as an embarrassed and humiliated country,” Helmer Velásquez, Executive Director of the Coordinate told the national Guatemalan newspaper La Prensa. “Contrary to the goal of reducing poverty, in Guatemala it has increased, while health care coverage decreased from 95 per cent during the previous government (2008-2012) to 40 per cent under the current administration.”
In his opinion, Velásquez felt there was no improvement on the goals because there were no investments in the population, something which could be solved if the government would increase the tax burden and invest in education and healthcare. He also felt that Guatemala should sign the Post-2015 Development Goals, but recommended that the Government generate processes to redistribute wealth that would boost economic and social progress.
It may be however, that the recommendations of Velasquez will fall on deaf ears since Guatemala was one of only four states in the Western Hemisphere (along with Cuba, Guyana and French Guyana) that chose not to participate in the recent Post 2015 Development Goals Learning Metrics Development Task Force.
None of this comes as any surprise to us. In our end of the year evaluations that we ask teachers to submit to us, one of the primary complaints has been the lack of resources (not) provided by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education to the rural schools.
So this is where Avivara’s support becomes so essential. Without our provision of teacher materials, textbooks, and student supplies (which we can only purchase because of the generosity of our donors) many teachers in the rural areas become discouraged and end up only putting in time in their classrooms, and thus failing to provide their students with a quality education.
Finally, we are like David vs. Goliath; a very small (but well-organized) entity trying to fight against the larger forces of corruption, disorganization and lack of political will within the Guatemalan government. But basically, WE NEED MORE ROCKS!
From now until the end of December, we are conducting our annual fall appeal. With your help, but only with your help, will we be able to continue our support for the teachers and students in the rural village schools, and also expand the number of scholarships we will be able to offer students wishing to continue their education beyond 6th grade.
Our goal is to raise $42,000 over the next three months. Please, don’t be like the Guatemalan government and turn your back on the children of Guatemala. They and their teachers need your support and encouragement.
Please go to the DONATE page on our website for more information on the different ways to make a tax-deductible contribution, or if you would like to donate today using your credit card, simply click on the button below. It will take you directly to our secure donate online page on our website.