Las Brisas School, Pueblo Viejo School and El Sillon School, Yupiltepeque, Guatemala 

Work started in July 2008 to build and furnish eight new classrooms in three schools in the Yupiltepeque region of Guatemala; Las Brisas, Pueblo Viejo and El Sillon. These were existing schools but due to an increase in the population there were insufficient facilities for the children with up to 80 children cramped in each classroom.

The new classrooms opened in February 2009 and included an innovative 3 classroom structure at Las Brisas, complete with sliding partition walls enabling the structure to be used as a community centre during the evenings. In all three schools, much-needed sanitation and clean water were provided, whilst kitchens were refurbished and security such as flood protection walls added, all ensuring a life-changing environment for teachers and students alike.

Las Brisas School, Guatemala

And in conjunction with the Ulrich Gurtner Kappeler Foundation, teachers have now been placed on a cultural development program to help develop a range of skills including waste management and garden work, skills which they will ultimately teach the community during evening classes.

Due to severe drought in the region during 2009, the Costa Foundation made a further donation towards setting up a child nutrition programme which provided severely malnourished children with a highly nutritious breakfast to eat before lessons commence. This donation also provided land for growing staple crops and evening classes on health and nutrition. The project success resulted in the community building a tuck shop in the grounds of each school enabling the children to sell surplus crops to generate income for the school.

Yupiltepeque is an impoverished farming community within the Department of Jutiapa lying 175 kms (108 miles) south east of Guatemala City. The town has a population of 13,000; is surrounded by forest and the farmers within it depend primarily on coffee supported by sugar cane, bananas, cotton and cardamom.

El Sillon School, Guatemala

Click here for a video of the school openings in 2009


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