“It’s really good for my future because many times in Guatemala there aren’t jobs and speaking English can take you places. The little to big kids receive English here which is special, because in other schools, students get 30 minutes and only a few times a week. Here I have 2.5 hours of English everyday.” ~ Angel (6th Grade)
The English Program
The English program was started in 2008 by one of our dedicated volunteers, Madeleine Anderson. English language is imperative for success in the Guatemalan education system and workforce. In 2013 UPAVIM expanded the English Program to a full-day Bilingual Program providing students with a greater opportunity towards gaining language proficiency. In the 2019-2020 school year we began working towards using only local Guatemalan teachers proficient in English for this program. Part of the impetus was due to having difficulty getting international English speaking volunteers to teach. Ultimately our goal was to have all local English teachers and we just had to push forward our goal to do this but can only afford 2 teachers currently. Therefore, we have English immersion in the afternoons only. This makes our school still a full day program whereas Guatemalan primary schools typically only run ½ day and children do not get English until secondary/high school.
School director, Pahola, speaks about what makes UPAVIM CAA different than the surrounding elementary schools: “the boys and girls study from 7:30am to 3:30pm. They have this schedule because one of the priorities is that they learn English as a second language. This unique schedule also benefits parents that work and it keeps the kids of the community off of the street for more hours a day.” Pahola began as a teacher in the school and is currently the director. Her own child, nieces and nephews are enrolled in the school.
UPAVIM and the US based 501c3 Upavim Community Development Foundation (UCDF) raise money to help keep the full-day education program going. Public schools in Guatemala are generally open just a half day. UPAVIM’s school was able to extend its day to full-day in 2013 but this extension is supported through lots of fundraising.
The Bilingual Program creates options and opportunities for UPAVIM’s students that would otherwise be unobtainable. To continue to run the school in general, and provide this excellent and unique opportunity for the children in the marginalized community of La Esperanza, we have the challenge of raising $50,000 a year outside what the crafts and school fees bring in.
Would you like to help us fund UPAVIM’s worthy school? Donate below!!