Pop Wuj is responsible for several community development projects in Xela and the surrounding area. These projects were designed by Pop Wuj to address the immediate needs of the community, as well as promote sustainable growth and development. Part of the tuition of every student who attends Pop Wuj contributes to the continuation and success of the projects, and every student is invited to volunteer.
Education is one of the key factors for effectively breaking the cycle of poverty which plagues the developing world. In highland Guatemala we help communities break out of this cycle by providing the necessary funds for impoverished families to send their children to school. Currently only 58% of children attend school, which is evidenced in Guatemala´s high illiteracy rate.
Although education is highly valued in Guatemalan families, a lack of rural schools, the expense of transportation, registration, study materials, and uniforms keep those families living in poverty from giving their children an opportunity to attend school. As many of the families we support are struggling to put food on the table, they are often forced to pull their children from school in order to contribute to the family's income. Girls are specifically at risk of being denied an education because their domestic skills are culturally regarded as more valuable than those skills they would exercise in the work force.
In order to combat the financial burdens families face in sending their children to school, we provide the necessary funds that help cover educational costs and/or replace the meager wage the child would have earned if he or she had been working instead. Pop Wuj's Director of Social Projects assists families in finding schools, transportation, and the necessary supplies for each child in the scholarship program. The progress of each student is closely monitored on a monthly basis through communication with parents, students, and the schools. The families of scholarship recipients are required to stay involved with the education of their children if they are to continue receiving funds. In monthly meetings each community works together to send the maximum number of students to school. It is in this way that we offer impoverished children the choice of becoming a school teacher or an operator of a business rather than a seasonal farmhand.
We currently provide scholarships for approximately 130 students. Typically each family receives $13 US per month, though this amount may increase or decrease depending on need. For the children, this small amount of money determines whether or not they will be literate as well as the quality of lives they will lead.
If you are interested in the scholarship program and would like to become a sponsor, you will be become the padrino/madrina of one of our children, and will receive an annual update on their progress.