La Pedrera is a community of indigenous Mayans displaced by the Guatemalan civil war. Most are single parents trying to sustain their families on the meager income they earn through manual labor. They live in extreme poverty and hope for a better life for their children.
In Guatemala, all children may attend school, but families must be able to pay for school uniforms, books and other educational materials in order to attend. For the children of La Pedrera, this hurdle often prevents them from attending school. The families in La Pedrera often don’t have enough to eat, let alone have the money it takes to send their children to school.
La Pedrera School Project is an American non-profit organization that works with Guatemalan organizations to help provide an education to the Mayan youth in La Pedrera, Guatemala. Our primary goal is to help build a future for these families by providing a basic education for the youth in La Pedrera. Ultimately, we would like to expand the program to include offering scholarships to university, so students can bring skills back to the Western Highlands that will help restore and sustain the Mayan communities.
We currently work with two organizations in Guatemala to help carry out our mission. Casa Xelaju, a Spanish language school, in Quetzaltenango, supports the school by administering the sponsorship program, supplying a teacher for the educational reinforcement classes, providing building maintenance, and the tools and supplies needed by the school. Transitions Foundation, in Antigua, helps LPSP coordinate shipments from the U.S. to the school, such as textbooks and PCs for their new computer lab.
The School: Opened in 1995 by Casa Xelaju with 13 students.
Administration: Casa Xelaju administers the program. All administrative costs for operating the La Pedrera School are paid out of the Casa Xelaju budget, including: building maintenance , utilities—electricity and water , and internet connection to the new computer lab.
The Project: La Pedrera School Project (LSPS) was founded in 2004 by Wayne Hess to solicit sponsorships and help support the school. The La Pedrera School Project is a 501 (c)(3) charity. Our operating costs are minimal and all of the Foundation’s workers are volunteers.
In addition to soliciting sponsors for the children, LSPS has also helped connect the school to running water, provided text books and materials for the school, raised funds for the addition of a second classroom to the school building, and provided fifteen computers for the establishment of a computer lab.
Sponsorships: 40 children are currently sponsored (27 in elementary schools, 16 in middle school, and 6 in high school). Participation in the program costs $300 for a child in primary school and $450 for a child in middle school or high school (2016 school year). The fee covers:
- Supplies—text books, note books, pencils, etc.
- Uniform for school and for sports
- Two pairs of shoes—one pair for sports and the one for daily use
- Basic medical care
Waiting List: 60 children still need sponsors. The program provides assistance with homework to the 60 students who need a sponsor and are waiting for admittance into the program.
Graduates: Since 2006, 19 students from the La Pedrera School have graduated high school.