Santa Teresa School, Tucuru, Guatemala

March 2009 saw the start of work at Santa Teresa's Primary School in Tucuru, Guatemala. This is an indigenous Mayan Indian community, steeped in over 650 years of history and very much at the heart of coffee growing. Historically, there have never been any school facilities in Tucuru, with children having to take lessons in a local community house using temporary furniture and taught by a teacher travelling from the nearest school, some 25 kms (15 miles) away. The Costa Foundation provided 6 fully furnished classrooms, a communal activity room, new sanitation and fresh water. The building was officially opened in March 2010, much to the delight of the 280 children and 8 teachers using the facilities.

Santa Teresa School now offers the only secondary education facilities in the area and is a much needed facility to help combat the high levels of illiteracy which were at 75% and generally poor school attendance driven by the lack of nearby school facilities.

Also, working in conjunction with Solidaridad, the Costa Foundation funded a social worker's salary for 3 years who ran a "life skills" programme for the entire community to foster the social, cultural and professional development of youngsters and adults, especially women, in the region. This included "ABC" lessons for the communities women, the first ever access to education for the adult women of Tucuru.

Tucuru is situated 165 kms (102 miles) north east of Guatemala City in the region of Alta Verapaz. The local population is of the Q´eqchi tribe of non-Spanish speaking farmers. The need for a school here was underpinned by the fact that over 50% of the population is 14 years of age or below.

Click here for a video of the school opening in 2010


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