3 Organizations Improving Education in Guatemala

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As a country, Guatemala has one of the worst illiteracy and education rates in all of the western hemisphere. Despite the country having compulsory education, many children do not attend school for the full length of time. This has led to an educational deficit across the country.

To help combat these disparities, education nonprofits work with children and adolescents across Guatemala and assist in promoting change. Organizations like Cada Niño,TheNicolás Fund for Education, andMagical Classroom aid students along their educational path and provide resources in order for them to succeed.

Education is an invaluable resource that shapes individual students and creates positive leaders of change. These students will go back to their communities and foster growth there as well. Ultimately, these communities will impact Guatemala and have an effect on the entire country. This puts education as a major catalyst of positive change that is lacking throughout Guatemala.

Overview of Education in Guatemala

The educational system within Guatemala consists of three parts; primary, middle, and secondary education.

Primary education usually lasts for 6 years and is between the ages of 7 through 13. Even though primary education is free and compulsory, the average student will only attend for 4.1 years.

After primary school, students attend middle education, which usually lasts for 3 years, between the ages of 13 through 16.

Lastly, after students have finished both primary and middle education, they will attend secondary education. Secondary education is usually two years in length and separated into two different tracks. Diversified (Diversificado) secondary education is one of the two tracks available to students, and focuses on a broad education that prepares attendees for tertiary studies at university. The next route available is Technical College, which provides students with technical skills that are needed for trades and professions such as carpentry, car mechanics, and plumbing.

Young Guatemalan girl standing outside of a building
School attendance is mandatory between the ages of 7 through 13.

Despite primary school being compulsory, as previously mentioned, many Guatemalans don’t finish their primary school education. With the average student only completing a little just over half of their required education, Guatemala has an educational crisis on its’ hands. Guatemala is one of the most illiterate countries in the western hemisphere, with 25.5% of people unable to read.

In addition to this alarming fact, indigenous populations show even more worrying figures. Estimates indicate indigenous peoples’ illiteracy rates to be around 60%. In conjunction with this, the average indigenous student attends school for only 3.4 years.

Thus, it is clear that something must be done to raise literacy and education rates in Guatemala.

Partner Nonprofit – Cada Niño

This Guatemalan education nonprofit organization provides services to orphans, vulnerable children, and those with special needs. Founded in 2016,Cada Niño is a Christian-based education nonprofit that operates out of two centers in Guatemala. One center is located in Zone 13 of Guatemala City, and the other is on the outskirts of the city in the San Jose Pinula area. The services provided give students a holistic education that address classroom topics, spiritual matters, and family units.

The main focus area ofCada Niño is education. Tutors and educators assist in a wide array of activities and subjects that enable students to thrive in the classroom. Teachers tutor on math, science, and other core curricula that reinforce learned ideas and help teach new ones. In addition, Cada Niño also provides IT classes that give students marketable skills for future employment in the Guatemala sector. Through the use of Google Classroom, these IT classes train students in typing, word processing, and coding.

Along with traditional subjects,Cada Niño also educates its students on spiritual matters and family health/functioning. Bible and character formation classes hasten character development and aid in moral decision-making. As a result, students will be better able to think critically and use moral judgment. Regarding family functioning, a mothers’ group is hosted once a week and family meetings are held every two months. These groups focus on family dynamics and strengthen bonds within the family unit.

Students being educated on IT skills in a computer lab
Cada Niño provides its’ students with IT classes in typing, word processing, and coding.
Source:Cada Niños Website

Partner Nonprofit – The Nicolás Fund for Education

TheNicolás Fund for Education believes in equipping children, through christ-centered education, with the tools necessary so that they can become positive leaders of change in their communities. Founded in 2013, this education nonprofit in Guatemala provides scholarships to disadvantaged children, enabling them to reach their full potential.

By providing scholarships to children in the Guatemalan Highlands, TheNicolás Fund for Education can assist in lifting at-risk children, and their communities, out of poverty. Their scholarship programs provide children in these villages with educational opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential.

These scholarship programs include everything a student needs, including; tuition, school uniforms, tutoring, school supplies, nutritious food, and transportation. Therefore, TheNicolás Fund for Education scholarship programs encompasses much more than just a simple education. When students bring back their knowledge to their communities, they become positive leaders of change thus, scholarship programs impact individuals as well as the community.

Through the use of their scholarship programs, TheNicolás Fund for Education strives to meet 6 unique goals. These goals aim to increase graduation rates, create community leaders, and bring donors and students closer together. In striving for these goals, this education nonprofit works tirelessly to positively change children’s lives.

Guatemalan boy holding an education book
The scholarships provided by TheNicolás Fund for Education enable children to become positive leaders of change within their communities. Source: The Nicolás Fund for Education Website

Partner Nonprofit – Magical Classroom

Founded in 2014 by two Guatemalan women, this education nonprofit focuses its efforts on young children in pre-school. At the time of its conception, Magical Classroom was very small and served a limited amount of children. Today, however, this organization now has 75 classrooms in 35 rural communities spanning over 4 different regions. Magical Classroom is able to serve Guatemala by bringing vital pre-school education to remote areas across the country.

Magical Classroom educates students with a combination of culturally relevant curriculum,natural materials, and technological mediums that make learning fun, interactive, and relevant. Their culturally relevant lesson plans reference current events to engage students in matters of today. With the use of natural mediums, students are able to receive fun and creative lessons that are informative and engaging. Finally, with the use of technology, like tablets and other devices, education is made more accessible and mobile to all students. These educational tools aid in mentally and physically preparing previously disadvantaged rural children to be successful in future classes and beyond.

In addition to providing education, Magical Classroom acknowledges that children cannot learn if their basic needs are not met. Therefore, students receive healthy nutritional snacks and supplements each day to promote concentration and aid in healthy growth. These daily interventions, in conjunction with student learning, help provide a strong foundation for which children can build their lives upon.

Student in Guatemala holding an Ipad for education
Magical Classroom uses tablets and other forms of technology to make educationmore accessible and mobile to all students.Source: Magical Classroom Website

How To Support Guatemalan Education Nonprofits

Children are the future and can, therefore, be one of the most valuable assets for any country to possess. By giving children the proper tools, skills, and mindsets to succeed, Guatemala can make great strides forward. To do so, education has to be at the forefront of everybody’s thoughts.

Education gives children the necessary skills for community enhancement, knowledge on pertinent matters and affairs, and a voice that they might not have otherwise have had. In order to better Guatemala’s future, education for children must be improved upon. Organizations, likeCada Niño, The Nicolás Fund for Education, and Magical Classroom are all on the ground right now, ensuring children in Guatemala are receiving an education.

Unfortunately though, organizations like these cannot function in a vacuum and need support. By donating your time or by making a monetary donation, you are ensuring that educational nonprofits can continue their work.

If you would like to support education nonprofits in Guatemala, Pionero Philanthropy is a great place to start.

Pionero Philanthropy performs an in-depth analysis on all nonprofit partners, including Cada Niño, The Nicolás Fund for Education, and Magical Classroom, in 5 key areas;Sustainability, Transparency, Efficiency, Impact, and Need/Relevance.

Pionero Philanthropy’s interactive map allows nonprofits operating in Guatemala to be easily filteredaccording to rating, theme, region, and much more.

In addition, Pionero Philanthropy also provides consulting services to assist donors with the match-making process and help maximize the impact of their donations.

Contact Pionero Philanthropy if you would like further information about our services