|Location:||Tierra Colorada, Guatemala|
Guatemala: Tierra Colorada School Project
Since 2009 in Tierra Colorada, Guatemala
Partnerships: Tierra Colorada School
The Tierra Colorada project started in 2006 with funds donated by Paul Layte and Nancy Cowle and a grant from the Wild Rose Foundation. Sombrilla funds were used to improve the primary school in Tierra Colorada Baja, adding new classrooms to reduce overcrowding and replacing the bathrooms and kitchen, improving sanitation in the school. As an additional part of the project, biosand water filters were built in response to a high rate of absenteeism amongst students, due to illness. The filters provided clean water both for the school and for families in the community.
The construction added a second story to the school and was completed in 2010. The new classrooms provided adequate space for all students and enrollment continued to increase. With the new space completed some of the teachers in the school suggested that the school could be used in the afternoons to provide secondary school for local children who normally left school at the end of grade 6.
In 2011, Sombrilla agreed to partner with the school, using funds donated by Paul and Nancy to start the secondary (basico) program. An agreement was made with the Government of Guatemala that if Sombrilla was to fund the program for the first 3 years the Government would take over after that point. Although all the paperwork for the transition has been submitted, the government has not started to support the school. The teachers told us that they believe that if they are able to continue with the program eventually the government will take over funding the program. They said that they want to continue with the program in spite of not having secure funding because the level of satisfaction in their work is high and they know how important the school is to their students. Most parents in the community see the benefits of their children continuing in school but many lack the resources to send their children to the city.
Sombrilla is working with the teachers to continue to lobby the Government of Guatemala to follow through on their agreement to support the Tierra Colorada secondary program and until that happens we are continuing to try to raise the $12,000 per year needed to pay the teachers.