A 36-year civil that ended in 1996 devastated nearly two generations of Guatemala’s children, leaving many of them orphaned, abandoned and out cast without a sense of purpose or hope, and with no vision of a future.
Today, many children continue to live in dangerous urban environments or poor and remote rural villages where there is little opportunity for safe outdoor recreation, play, creativity or activities that foster social development.
Without hope or dreams, these children have little motivation to remain in school and, without the ability to imagine a better future, it is nearly impossible for them to escape the cycle of poverty.
Since1996 some improvement in education has been achieved and government reports indicate that many more schools are built every year; however, if we visit these small schools outside of major cities, we will discover that there are no sanitation facilities, doors, windows, floors, desks, chalk boards, books nor teachers.
Guatemala’s Stunning Statistics: 2012
Population: 15,000,000 / 53.7% (8 million) live in poverty, 2 million live in extreme poverty
Nutrition: 50% of children suffer chronic malnutrition, the highest in Latin America and 6th highest in the world
Fertility Rate: Four (4) children per-woman, highest in Latin America
Infant Mortality: 24 children per 1,000 - highest in Central America, 3rd in Latin America
Homicide Rate: 7th highest in the world, 30 deaths per 100,000 habitants. (34 deaths per-day in 2012)
Note: An epidemic of violence is considered if more than 10 deaths per-day.
Average Years of School: 5.5 years in major cities / 3.8 years in rural areas
"Education is one of the main factors that propel people out of poverty, yet indigenous peoples continue to have fewer years of education than non-indigenous.
Source: Hall and Patrinos, Finance & Development. Magazine, International Monetary Fund, 2005
"Deficiencies in educational quality lead 76% of all rural children who enter first grade to drop out before completing primary school, which ends at 6th grade. This situation is exacerbated by poor health conditions, child malnourishment and child labor, since many poor children must contribvute to their family’s income.
Almost 50% of all students fail first grade; these children are more likely to fail again and drop out. At all levels of school, the poor, particularly girls and rural indigenous children of both genders, have less access to basic education."
Source: USAID/Guatemala; Education Access, Quality and Equity in Guatemala, Latin American Profiles 1999-2004