Newsletter May 2006
The Aid and Education Project, Inc.
“ El Proyecto de Ayuda y Educación “
Thanks to everyone, we now have a good start on the new school year that began in January. More and more kids and young adults are taking part in our programs. Thanks to all of you, it’s working.
Below you will find a brief update on our five major programs: (1) the Scholarship Program, (2) the Computer Literacy Program, (3) the Health & Nutrition Program, (4) the Maya Cultural Education Program, and (5) the ESL Program.
Over the last year, the
composition of the students with scholarships has changed. While it is not our aim to favor any group,
it is a fact that families in
We also now have more
students at the university and post-high school level. Many of the post-high school students are
studying computers --- a good choice since the computer revolution is just
While still very inexpensive by our standards, education at these higher levels is far beyond the means of poor families. It is doubtful that any one of our scholarship holders at this level would be able to continue in school without help.
We hope to continue offering new scholarships at all levels. Without a doubt, there are few, if any, better ways to invest in the future of these poor communities.
Last summer we began our Computer Literacy Program in earnest. The goal of this program is to provide used (but working) computers to schools, orphanages, and libraries that otherwise could not afford computers. With basic computer know-how, or at least a lack of techno-phobia, students will have job opportunities in the future, whatever their area of interest.
We set a one-year goal last
summer of obtaining 250 computers, a goal that we thought was probably
impossible. Now, thanks to many small
donors, and one very large donor, we have over 300 working computers waiting to
be shipped to
Starting this year in Chichicastenango, we are offering health & nutrition classes for children. The idea is simple. Most health problems in poor communities are totally preventable. So, we want to teach children early not to drink un-pure water, to wash their hands before they eat, to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and make sure they don’t spend all day breathing in smoke from cooking fires. Good habits can be learned early and young kids will teach other family members good habits. As many of us already know, a preaching child can be a very strong impetus for change.
We also continue to send
Assuming we can obtain the
required funding, this year we hope to start a program to combat iron anemia. Many women of menstruating age in
During school vacations, we
offer classes on Maya history and culture to indigenous kids and young
adults. Unfortunately, the Maya past and
present are not taught in the local schools.
In 2005, over 200 kids attended our classes in San Antonio Aguas
This year, we are planning
the classes in conjunction with the Instituto de Lingüistica y Educación (ILE)
at the Universidad de Rafael Landívar in
In addition to offering classes in 2005, we distributed reading material on Maya history and culture to many students. Few poor families have any real books at home. Thus, by giving students reading material on Maya culture and history, we hope to promote literacy in the home, as well as to disseminate knowledge about their indigenous culture.
Although classes and reading materials cost little, they do keep kids engaged and thinking during the long vacation months. More importantly, they give indigenous Maya kids the sense of pride that they deserve.
We are proud to announce
that Carlyn Syvanen has joined our board and will direct the ESL Program going
forward. Carlyn is a retired ESL teacher
and instructor of ESL teachers, and has teaching experience in several foreign countries,
Initially, we want to offer English classes, as well as one-on-one or small group instruction, during the school vacation months of November and December. However, instruction during other months is also possible.
If you have an interest in
spending at least one month teaching English in
Positions are available in
Poco a poco, we are helping
make changes in a beautiful, yet terribly poor country. Your help is greatly appreciated, especially by
the students and families in
As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please share your ideas with us.
All the Best,
The Aid and Education
Project, Inc. 183