In 2014, two teachers in Chwitziribal, Guatemala, saw something no one there thought possible. The first young woman Lily graduated from high school. Prior to that time, no girl had ever passed grade six. Now while the school of Chwirtziribal exists as the centre of the community – a high mountain village with a population of 30 families – the school is geared toward the success of boys. Young girls are formed to become mothers at an early age. Lily was the recipient of a generous gift from new friends from Canada. Since that time, friends of Chwitziribal in Canada have contributed to other education funds and several other young women are able to attend high school. We are celebrating that in 2017 there were 10 girls and 1 boy in High School, one in a bi-lingual secretary course, and one studying Social Work at University.
With deep gratitude for that gift, the people of the village and the teachers of the school began to imagine what could happen to the lives of its young people with the development of a long term plan for the school. A number of years ago, with thanks from the congregation of St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church in Vancouver, a new classroom was built. It has become the centre of the school, a wonderful place for children to learn and a place for the community to gather. However, the reminder of the school is old; the septic system is not functioning and the three toilets are in very poor condition. Because the sun is hidden behind the mountains in the east until 10 am, the school is cold. More than 20 children are cramped into each of the remaining classrooms and the conditions for learning and developing are poor.
The dream of the teachers and principal at the school is to re-build a new section for the school in a an area of the school compound that gets earlier morning sun, and to rebuild a new septic system and to add new bathroom facilities. The re-development plan also includes the development of a community meeting room on the second level of the new facility, to be used as a play area for the children when the weather is cold or rainy and to provide a much need space for community gatherings.
There are a number of steps in the process:
Currently the land belongs to the community. Legal work is required to ensure that the land is held for a school in perpetuity
Architectural and engineering designs are complete with final approval waiting to be received.
The construction phase requires a tender with a small construction company, and volunteer labour needs to be harnessed to build the school from among villagers and parents.
The estimated cost of re-developing the school property is 500,000 Quetzales, the national currency of Guatemala. This converts to $65,000 US dollars. The project simply waits for the generous contributions from friends of Chwitziribal and others who are passionate about the educational opportunities for the young people of this country still healing from its 36-year civil war.
The people of the village of Chwitziribal have become very special friends and there is no telling what your gift will do to advance the lives of the whole community. This is your opportunity to continue this relationship and 100% of your gift will stay in the village and be used for the purposes of this new school building.