Another school year has come to an end in Joconal. We aren’t
sure where the time went, but we have our third year of secondary
classes under our belt. All of the students did very
well this year, excelling in their classes. With their grades in
hand, they are getting ready for their three month break before
we see them again in January. As usual, our students have different
plans for their break than you would expect. Here’s a quick note from Karina
to tell you more:
“The end of the year went well. The kids were ready for finals and
‘vacation’. As you may know, most of our kids work during their vacation, because
it is harvest season for the coffee farmers. They try to work as much as
they can during this time. Before they go back to work, we will have our end
of the year party on November 10th. We will be giving prizes to the kids that
have the best grades, are good in sports, or are good artists. We will try to be
online if anyone would like to be a part of the celebration. Thank you so much
for making this possible. God bless.”
Follow up note from his trip:
“During my time with the students, I asked them if they
had ideas for any inventions they could make, and I
would try and help the kids think of ways they could
craft their inventions from the surroundings. They have
a great amount of ingenuity. Nearly all of the ideas
were meant to help people in need or to make their
lives more efficient and beneficial. Also, I was able to
talk to some of the elders of the village about what
they think of the school; how it has been improving
the lives of the students; and how it has been improving
the village. They told me that they have high hopes
for the future of their children and are very proud to
see the progress they have been making.”
Brand New Classrooms
Our newest students in Joconal can’t wait to start school.
When we first started working in Joconal, we saw a huge need for education
at various levels. Children did not start school until age 7, and as we’ve
mentioned before, the school ended at 6th grade. Knowing that they would walk
three hours each day to attend school, we got started with secondary classes
in order to prepare the youth of Joconal to pursue a better future.
When classes began in January 2015, the need for educational support
at the primary level was magnified. Most of our students were not testing at
their grade level. It was extremely obvious that the teachers in the primary
school had an impossible job.
Children would start 1st grade without any education. They did not
have books in their home, so they were not read to before bed. They did not
1 out of 2
according to the
World Bank. Child
linked to poverty,
low levels of
education, and poor
access to health
Where is located
Joconal is in the district
of Zacapa. It is a five hour
drive from Guatemala City to Joconal.
The nearest city to Joconal
is Gualan. It is a 45 minute hike
from our school to the Honduras
Where do we have
Our school is currently
hosted at the
Leiva’s Coffee farm. The
Leivas turned two of their
rooms at the farm house
into school rooms.
know the alphabet or numbers. We learned that
the first grade teacher in Joconal is responsible
for teaching a room of 25 children everything they
should have learned in Pre-school and Kindergarten
in addition to the 1st grade curriculum without
any assistance. This often led to children failing 1st
grade and would create frustration in relationship
to learning. It is common for children to drop out of
school before completing 6th grade.
With this in mind, we hoped there would be
an opportunity to help meet the need for a Preschool
and Kindergarten at some point. We began
the reading program to begin addressing this need
in what small ways we could, with hopes to help the
community start a program for these 4 to 6 year old
We began exploring the number of kids at
the age for Pre-school and Kindergarten. We knew
we didn’t have space for the children, but we wanted
to be able to create a plan. In September, Karina
spoke with a leader in Joconal. He shared the incredible
news that he along with other leaders in
the village would build their children a school, so
they could have a Pre-school in Joconal. Karina and
I were blown away when we heard this.
Karina made sure I knew that it wasn’t going
to be the best classroom, but honestly, I disagree.
Nothing could be better than fathers coming
together to build their children a school. Sure,
a state of the art classroom would be great, but it
would rob these men of the opportunity to provide
for their children. I could not be happier. This shows
that the people of Joconal have been empowered
to invest in their village.
With classrooms in the process of being
built, we are getting ready to start the new Preschool
and Kindergarten in January 2018. We have
hired our new teachers and are preparing lesson
plans. We could not be more excited for our next
step in Joconal and look forward to introducing you
to our new students in the weeks to come.
They want to
hear from you!
The students would love to hear from you. You have pictures of them. Why not
send them a picture of you! Let them know who you are and things that you like
to do. This is a great opportunity for them to learn about your culture and for
you to encourage them to keep up the good work.
In order to make things simple for you, we’ve created an email for your sponsorship
communications. No need to worry about your Spanish skills, your
email will go to our staff for translation before being sent to your student.
Subject: From “your name”
We love to share our mission!
Would you like to get your church or community group involved in our mission, but you’re not
sure how? Right now, we are looking for church and community groups to partner with in order
to expand our mission. If you think your group would be interested, just send us a note. We’d be
happy to give you materials to share or come share with you. Email email@example.com to get
Our school would not be running without people
like you. It has taken voices from all over the USA
and Guatemala joining together to get us where
we are. Thanks to your willingness to share, we
have made a difference in the lives of an entire
village, but we want to do more!
That is why we created the Ambassador Program.
We want to equip passionate people with the
tools they need to make a bigger impact. That
means taking our model to more students and
impacting more communities through sustainable
Sign-up to share your voice!
Visit us online at LanVwa.org
We are so excited about what’s happening
in Joconal, and we know that many of you
are as well! We’ve been asked quite a bit
lately how people can get plugged in. If you
are one of those people that want to get
involved, here are a few financial and volunteer
needs we have moving into 2018:
1. Sponsor one of our 22 new students
at $38 a month.
2. Support the cost of a desk for our
Pre-school at $32 a piece.
3. Buy a bag of supplies for our students
at $85 a piece.
4. Join our passionate team of professionals
on the board of directors.
5. Volunteer to translate documents
to Spanish for 5 hours a month.
6. Become an ambassador and make
a difference in the lives of students