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PO Box 263
Bettendorf IA 52722
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Supporting Children's Education

Enabling Children to Attend School

Meet: Juanita!

Juanity agetting ready for school

Hard-working parents: Juanita’s father, Domingo, worked as a custodian for a small building. Her mother weaves on a backstrap-loom and sells her weavings to a store, earning about $1/day. When Domingo lost his job, he took work in the riverbed, breaking rocks into stones to be used in cement. He supplements this work by searching through the garbage dump for used grain sacks, washing them, and selling them for twelve cents each.

Six-year-old Juanita: Even though they worked so very hard, these parents could not pay the school fees for their daughter, Juanita. My School Fund stepped in to pay the tuition and provide required school supplies. In this photo, Juanita is ready for school – standing in the kitchen of her family’s house, wearing her beautiful, hand-woven skirt and traditional blouse called a huipil. Her mother’s backstrap-loom and stool are in the front of the picture; her thread-holder, with blue thread, is in the back.

Donate: Any amount to be applied to education is gratefully received. Specifically, costs for grades 1-6 are about $150/year; costs for grades 7-12 are more than $325/year. See a video about El Fondo Para Mi Escuela.

Meet: School-aged children of San Juan La Laguna, San Pedro La Laguna, and San Pablo La Laguna, three municipalities in Sololá, Guatemala

Photos of students at a school in Guatemala

Learning Spanish in school: Indigenous Mayan children of this region speak one or more Mayan languages in their homes. The parents of many of these children did not attend school and do not speak Spanish, the language of mainstream commerce and employment in Guatemala. Therefore, it is of particular importance for their future that Mayan children attend school where they learn Spanish.

School is not free: School is not free in the highlands of Guatemala. Families must provide specific school supplies, textbooks, clothing, and transportation; families must also pay fees, such as registration, end-of-term tests, and graduation fees, especially for the older children in the upper grades. These cash expenses are beyond the means of many families. My School Fund, known locally as El Fondo para mi Escuela, enables children to attend school with dignity. See a video about El Fondo Para Mi Escuela.

How My School Fund works: Each November, donors send their gifts for the up‑coming school year, January – October. Local volunteers, Maria and Benedicto, meet with every family to review each student’s needs; they visit each school to help with registration and pay the tuition for the year. Maria assembles a school outfit for each student; Benedicto and several other volunteers visit a larger community where they can purchase school supplies and shoes for each student. It is quite an effort to package up each student’s clothing and supplies in time for the first day of school, and a joy to see the excited children!

During the school year, Benedicto monitors the students’ attendance and progress, ensuring that problems are identified and resolved quickly.

Dedicated volunteers and donors: Jim and Anca Vaughn began this program as a social justice project in their congregation in Fox Island, Washington, and they continue to do many tasks in support of El Fondo. Through the years, they have inspired a committed group of donors who celebrate their support of El Fondo, as the program is affectionately known. New sponsors are always welcome.

Donate: Any amount to be applied to education is gratefully received. Specifically, costs for grades 1-6 are about $150/year; costs for grades 7-12 are more than $325/year. See a video about El Fondo Para Mi Escuela.

In memory of: Domingo Ezequías Cuc (1997-2012)

Photo of Domingo graduating froms school

Disabled children – invisible people: When Domingo Ezequías Cuc was born in San Pablo La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala, most schools did not accept children with disabilities. So, for the first eight years of his life, Domingo, who suffered from a muscle-wasting condition, spent his life at home wishing for one thing: to attend school.

His world expands: Domingo’s life changed when community members organized a center for children with disabilities, and he was able to attend programs. Domingo soon charmed everyone with his engaging manner and inspired people with his intelligence and wisdom.

Breaking barriers: In 2008, Domingo broke barriers by being the first wheelchair-bound student to attend a public school in his municipality. Centro Maya Project paid Domingo’s school expenses and hired an educational aide to take him to school each afternoon, carry him up and down stairs to classes, and hold heavy text books and other materials. He excelled in all his academic work. In 2011, Domingo was the first in his family to graduate from primary school (6th grade). Domingo was a change agent. Since then, teachers are being trained to work with differently abled children in Guatemala and schools have opened their doors to children with disabilities. 

At the sixth grade graduation ceremony, Domingo was recognized by the school principal, “. . .es un niño brillante, inteligente y ejemplo para toda la gente del departamento de Sololá, A pesar de su situación física, el no se quedó atrás y siempre dijo “Yo puedo, yo puedo.’ Es un ejemplo para nuestra Escuela Vespertina, es un niño, que lucho y lucho hasta lograr sus objetivos.”

Domingo “. . . is an intelligent, brilliant boy and an example for all the people of the State of Sololá. In spite of his physical situation, he did not remain behind and always said, “I am able, I am able.” He is an example for our Evening School – a boy who worked and worked until achieving his objectives.“

Mourned by an extended community: In September, 2012, Domingo Ezequías Cuc died from the effects of his condition. He was mourned by the many people who knew him personally and by international friends and supporters who knew him through Centro Maya Project.

Children with a bag of groceries
People in a yellow truck
Young schoolgirl in a hut