Galápagos Islands Schools
Although this may be news to some, the Galápagos Islands belong to the country of Ecuador, despite being a three-day boat ride away. Renowned for their biodiversity, the Galápagos also support over 30,000 people who primarily serve the tourist industry. T2T-I will serve two primary islands: San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz. The former, despite being the smaller of the two, contains the capital of the province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, at its southwestern tip. Santa Cruz, the most populated island, hosts the tourism capital, Puerto Ayora, which has hotels, restaurants, banks, internet cafés, and anything else you might be looking for, such as sea lions and pelicans!
T2T-I serves all of the 20 schools in this archipelago, totaling 350 teachers. Spanish is spoken at school and at home.
T2T-I’s partner NGO in this area is the Galápagos Conservancy.
Santo Domingo, Ecuador: Gastón Figueira School
This small village lies on the banks of the Onzole River within the northernmost province of Ecuador, Esmeraldas. Nestled in the rainforest jungle, its residents possess African heritage, and there are two narratives about how that came to be, both of which probably contain truth. One story claims that escapees from a capsized slave ship trekked their way inland in pursuit of freedom, while another places the long-ago escape at Columbian mines. Regardless, the people of Santo Domingo are descended from courageous, resilient survivors who prized their autonomy more than connection with an oppressive world. Still today, Santo Domingo remains isolated from most influences of mainstream society, although that promises to change soon.
The school at Santo Domingo teaches approximately 200 students in classrooms open to the fresh air. The impending arrival of a road to the community means that gaining skills in critical thinking, higher-level reasoning, and hypothesis testing is crucial to preserving the villagers’ unique identity.
The language spoken at school and at home is Spanish.
T2T-I’s partner NGO in this area is The Onzole River Project.
Chinautla, Guatemala: New Hope School
The nonprofit organization Common Hope created New Hope Village in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch swept through Guatemala, leaving a path of devastation. Among the thousands of homes destroyed were flimsy shelters along the edges of a large ravine, assembled by those who had come to Guatemala City in search of better fortune. New Hope is now home to 42 families whom the disaster displaced. They were offered new land and opportunities to rebuild their lives.
The community is located in the municipality of Chinautla in Zone 6 of Guatemala City. The area is considered to be una zona roja (a red zone), indicating a high rate of violent crime, but the New Hope residents, in partnership with Common Hope, have maintained their village as a refuge to all of those who believe in second chances and a better future.
With access to high quality education at the New Hope School, families are witnessing change as their children are staying in school longer and achieving much success.
The construction of New Hope School was completed in 2005. It includes brightly decorated classrooms, a covered basketball court, playground equipment, and a preschool.
Nearly 275 preschool and elementary students from the surrounding area attend New Hope School. Its 16 staff members are required to have university level teaching degrees.
Among the main goals of the school are the creation of a sense of community in every classroom and relationships based on trust and love. The teachers and the principal of the school exemplify teamwork, community leadership, and commitment. The five school values of responsibility, respect, accountability, honesty, and commitment are upheld by the staff, who also use creative classroom management tools and innovative teaching strategies.
While New Hope School offers only preschool and elementary education, middle school and high school students have the option of attending nearby public and private schools with the assistance of Common Hope.
The academic schedule runs from January to October. The language spoken in school and at home is Spanish.
T2T-I’s partner, Common Hope, is a nonprofit organization that promotes hope and opportunity in Guatemala, partnering with children, families, and communities who want to participate in a process of development to improve their lives through education, health care, and housing. Common Hope serves more than 3,400 students and a total of 13,000 people in 27 communities in Guatemala.
Antigua, Guatemala: Niños de Guatemala
Community Information: Cuidad Vieja
Just outside Antigua, Guatemala, in the foothills of the Volcán de Agua, Ciudad Vieja is one of the primary municipalities within the Guatemalan department of Sacatepéquez. During the early 16th century, this location was chosen by colonists to be the second capital of the country. After a massive lahar (landslide of volcanic debris) in 1541, the survivors chose to relocate rather than risk another catastrophe.
Today, a bustling town has been built upon colonial ruins. Ciudad Vieja is a place filled with fascinating history and traditions that have been passed from generation to generation. Most residents make their livelihood through agriculture, handicrafts, and coffin carpentry workshops.
Community Information: San Lorenzo el Cubo
San Lorenzo el Cubo is located on a beautiful hillside overlooking Ciudad Vieja and Antigua Guatemala. The open horizon yields stunning views of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. The river Guacalate runs near the village and is considered one of the most important inflows of the area. Most of the men in the community work as farmers and carpenters, while the women make the traditional quitapenas (worry) dolls.
The school Nuestro Futuro (Our Future) in Cuidad Vieja opened its doors in 2009, providing education to 197 students from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. It is staffed by 11 teachers and eight administrative/operational personnel who are required to have teaching certificates according to their level or specialty.
The school El Porvenir (The Future) in San Lorenzo was dedicated in 2012 and provides education to 171 students from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. They also have a middle school with 63 students. There are nine elementary teachers, five middle school teachers, and 11 administrative/operational personnel who are required to have teaching certificates according to their level or specialty.
These schools are special because they serve families with limited economic resources but with great commitment to their own improvement. Education is the fundamental pillar for development, and the schools partner with the community and its sustainable programs. The local teachers encourage independent thought and passion for learning among their students, as well as social responsibility and cultural identity.
Both schools’ academic schedules runs from January to October.
In both towns, the language spoken at home and at school is Spanish. Some San Lorenzo residents speak Kakquichel (a Mayan language).
Niños de Guatemala initiated and still supports small-scale development projects in the most impoverished areas of the Sacatepéquez Department of Guatemala. Their main focus is education using inclusive, collaborative teaching methods that make students feel unique and valued.
Community involvement is central to their projects, and their main goal is to help local residents become educated, empowered, and entrepreneurial.