Much like in the United States, COVID-19 has turned the education world upside down here in Guatemala. In mid-March, schools were closed and in-person schooling suspended by government directive, forcing students and teachers to find alternative ways for schooling to continue, in order to keep the entire school year from being lost.
For some schools with increased resources or technological capacities, this meant presenting lessons and receiving students' homework virtually, but for other schools, this has involved the teachers printing out the lesson material and homework assignments and physically delivering it to their students' homes. The Guatemalan school year normally runs from January to October, meaning that students were near the start of the 2020 school year when the pandemic began.
For the students enrolled in our "Becas Con Misión" middle and high school scholarship program, our staff has worked to ensure that the program continued to provide support during this time, while also adapting to the new realities of the current situation.
Normally, our scholarship students and their parents would come to Mission Guatemala's offices in San Andrés to meet with Devora, our "Becas Con Misión" program coordinator, and to have their school costs that are covered by the scholarship reimbursed. However, since the pandemic began, this has become difficult, not only because most of Mission Guatemala's staff has been working from home, but also because, in mid-March, public transportation in Guatemala was suspended, leaving one of the only options for the students to travel outside their communities to be by private taxi. Some of the students who lived farthest away in remote rural communities told us that the normal bus fare to San Andrés previously had been15 Quetzales ($1.95), but that in a private taxi, it cost 140 Quetzales ($18.15) —over 9 times as much!
To help families avoid these exorbitant costs, as well as to help limit their need to risk increased exposure by leaving their communities and traveling to Mission Guatemala's offices, over the past few weeks our staff has been making trips to the communities where our scholarship students live to directly deliver the scholarship funds to them at their homes.
Please check out these pictures for a glimpse into our visits to the communities, as well as for more insight into what schooling looks like for some of these students enrolled in our "Becas Con Misión" scholarship program.
If you'd like to learn more about this program or if you'd like to make a gift today, please visit missionguatemala.com/scholarships now!
To see more photos, click here!