Enrollment up 30% after Glasswing turns public school into Community School
Santa Maria de Jesus is a community located 15 minutes from tourist hot spot Antigua, Guatemala. Its inhabitants make a living from agriculture and the sale of artisanal products, yet, close to 60% live in poverty. With an income of less than $200 a month — a sum insufficient for basic necessities for the average family of six to nine members — it’s an at-risk community, vulnerable to both disease and natural disasters.
On Wednesdays, farmers and merchants gather at the local market to sell their merchandise in the central plaza, in front of the town church, and in front of the health center. Santa Maria de Jesus Public School, where approximately 900 students attend school, is located around the corner from the market.
When Glasswing Guatemala first discovered this school, we planned a Volunteer Day to revitalize the school’s infrastructure. We were able to fix the roofs, the kitchen, bathrooms, common areas, and the school’s façade. Silvia Gabriela Beltran, the school’s director, expressed that it had been very challenging for her to obtain resources to improve the school’s infrastructure. “The only way to raise funds for the school was through small auctions with teachers and family members, but the economic reality of those in the community is a difficult one,” she said.
With the help of One Kid One World and United Talent Artists, Glasswing organized a Volunteer Day to paint the entire school. This included elaborate murals, desk upgrades, and new plants. We were even able to improve the quality of the school’s electric installations and windows.
The school was revitalized in August 2015, but in February of this year, the school reported an enrollment increase of 30 percent. The project motivated parents to enroll their kids in school. This statistic is very meaningful in a community where it is common practice to take kids to work instead of putting them in school, where they can spend the day learning.
“We had never seen such a positive change in the school. Kids are more motivated, and so are their parents. Today our children and youth can count on better facilities in a renovated space with a clean kitchen, and clean bathrooms,” said Beltran.