Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Educating A Girl...Worth the Donated Dollars?

Each dollar we are gifted by our donors is precious. In fact, they are so important, that our board members volunteer their expertise, and we have no paid staff. We spend what we bring in, because having a reserve fund means that a child goes hungry, a mother remains sick, or a roof leaks onto the few belongings a family may own. As with most nonprofits, there are parts of our program that cost more than others. In 2012, Finding Freedom through Friendship spent $6,160 on the education of indigenous children in rural Guatemala, most of whom were girls.
 Representing 12% of our budget, one might wonder if this expense is worth the utilization of our monetary gifts. It is a very difficult decision as a board--do we feed more hungry children with our funds, or educate them so that they can someday feed themselves? At the core of this question is the perplexing issue of the quality of the rural Guatemalan schools our  sponsored children attend. Education in Guatemala is significantly under-funded and the cost of supplies, uniforms, transportation and fees is not provided by the government.
Of the estimated two million children in Guatemala who are school aged but do not attend school, the majority are indigenous girls. With limited economic resources, parents often choose to educate their male children. Girls, no matter how young, are needed in the home to help with childcare, housework and field work.

Within our tiny circle of concern, there are two families in Guatemala who have had to send their thirteen year old daughters to distant relatives houses as cooks, so that these respective girls could be fed. Education is a fantasy, not a reality, for these girls.  

The future of the next generation of females in Guatemala can't be secured by one little organization such as ours. But we can wish better things for Manuela (left, holding sister) who is not in our program, and we can continue to make sure that Marta (above,right)has what she needs to succeed in school. 
The illiteracy rate in the indigenous rate in the indigenous population of Guatemala is over 60%. The highest level of schooling any mother in the Finding Freedom through Friendship program has achieved is third grade. We want a better future for their daughters.