January is a time of new beginnings and in Guatemala it means the beginning of a new school year! Did you know these facts about Guatemala’s school attendance rates?
- According to UNICEF, it is estimated that 657,233 children in Guatemala do not attend school, which corresponds to 26% of the total population between 7 and 14 years of age.
- Every year about 204,593 children abandon school–this represents 12% of all children enrolled in school!
José Antonio is a young man who is part of the Orphan’s Heart Child Sponsorship program. He is the third out of 6 children and belongs to a family living in poverty in a village of San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. Last year José Antonio completed the 6th grade, which is the end of primary school in Guatemala. At the beginning of this year José Antonio spoke with his mom and expressed his desire to continue his education into middle school.
According to the Department of Education of Guatemala, in 2016: from the total of children enrolled in elementary school in rural areas only 20% of them enroll in middle school; meaning that 80% didn’t continue with their middle school education.
José Antonio was reassured that Orphan’s Heart would work alongside of his family so he can finish his secondary education. Through Orphan’s Heart’s sponsorship program, Jose Antonio received a backpack filled with all the school supplies he needs for his first year in middle school, allowing him to pursue his dream of continuing with his education.
According to the organization Reading Village Public the majority of families in rural areas cannot afford to send more than one child to school. As a result, in indigenous Guatemalan communities only 1 in 10 children ever reach high school.
Just like José Antonio there are many children that would love to continue with their education because they know it will open many doors as they grow up and find a job to support their families and eventually start a family of their own. We know that education can break the cycle of poverty where these families have lived in through many generations, which is why education is an important piece of the sponsorship program.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”- Nelson Mandela
We have God sized dreams not only for the children in the sponsorship program but also for all of the children in Guatemala. Join us in prayers so that there’s an equal opportunity for them and for all of the children of the world to have a proper education!
This year Orphan’s Heart was able to provide a record 145 children in Guatemala with backpacks filled with the school supplies they need to get off to a great start this school year!!! Thank you to all of the child sponsors for having a positive impact in the life of One More Child!
To learn more about Orphan’s Heart Child Sponsorship or to view the children in need of sponsors, please visit our website.