CONGRATULATIONS to all the Challengers on our first six Charity Challenges of 2011, biking from Guatemala to Honduras, the inaugural Nicaragua Volcano Challenge, Brazil's Chapada Diamantina Challenge , Guatemala's first Caribbean Kayak Challenge, Perú´s Cerani Pass and Ecuador's Volcano Challenge. Nicaragua's second volcano Challenge is set for 3rd-6th November and the third Guatemala Volcano Challenge dates are set for 27th November -2nd December.

Click on the following for our most recent official project reports for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quantifying volunteer teaching and an update from Itzapa, Guatemala

When you remember that over 1.2 million children in Guatemala are not in school, over 75% of indigenous women are illiterate and the average schooling an indigenous child receives is less than two years, GVI Phoenix's inaugural project in Itzapa, which recently celebrated its 5th anniversary, is definately bucking the trend, thanks entirely to the volunteers.

Due to many different factors, including parental illiteracy and daily work commitments, many indigenous children who can go to school, tend to have to retake the year, if they can afford it, due to failing one or several of the subjects with scores of 30's and 40's. Many drop-out altogether.

In Itzapa, with the volunteers teaching all the subjects, including language, maths, social and natural science, in our school, and with the help of volunteer donations and the GVI Charitable Trust, paying for all the children to attend national school aswell, this year's official results show that volunteers make a huge difference, with the majority of children gaining very high marks and all moving on to the next grade.

We have recently added to our numbers in Itzapa, taking in almost 100 new kids in the past couple of weeks, taking us to over 300 children, receiving first-time or continued education.

In Zunil, in their new classroom, with 34 kids in the morning and 22 in the afternoon, Jane, Alice, Fiona and Lalita have worked wonders, being able to split the class into sections and give more interractive classes.

Jane has held the fort really well, being the long-termer here and Lalita has brought in her experience from working with us in Honduras previously. Letters, numbers and art are the order of the day, though also, the basics of how to hold a pencil and not use it to stab the other students are also high on the agenda.

Seño Beca has been in charge of Fuego since September and the advances she has made with the children, not least in the dancing capacity, is hugely visible, with many ready to move up to Atitlán in the New Year. Delmy, obviously, scored an average of 90% in her exams in national school!

We have been lucky to have Richard, from the UK, on the ground, who has taken Blanca aside for one-on-one classes, as attention isn't one of her strong points, though every now and then, she surprises us all with her maths; less surprising is her guessing!

Kate, another experienced volunteer from our Honduras project, following on from Noah, is currently with Atitlán, which now includes the older girls who before could not read and write; Heidy, Nanci, Juanita, Margarita etc and who next year will all be entering 2nd Grade.

As a class, their averages in national exams was excellent, averaging over 90% in language, maths and the sciences. Alex, Paty, Ana Ines, Sergio and erm, Edison (!), were nudging 95%, an excellent effort from all the volunteers this year.

The brain hub that is Acatenango has been under the excellent guidance of Rachel these past 10 weeks, with Fiona taking over the reins in the cupboard!. Their advances in reading, maths and the sciences are totally quantifiable, averaging over 95%, with Chezy, Merlin, Ana Veronica, Delia and Glendy hitting, or almost hitting the 100's.

In Pacaya, after great work from Sophie and Marian, Salia is here long-term to bring her enthusiasm to the classroom, with Matt's, another Honduras volunteer, help in the afternoon as the class swells to 28. Luis continues to amaze with his string of 100's and Araceli, César and Erikson all managed high 80's as all the kids passed with an average in the 80's to move into 3rd grade.

T&T has now been separated according to grade, so Tacana is being run very well by Matt, contending with the comedic value of Tito, Edy and Manolo and the women's club that is Irma, Yoselin Mishel and the rest!

Their results were no less impressive, averaging in the 80% bracket accross the board and Gisell, of course, leading the pack with the high 90's. They all head into 4th grade next year, and it gets harder, especially in the sciences and maths, though they are being well-prepared by Matt.

Toliman is under the excellent stewardship of John, who has brought in a wealth of experience with him, aswell as the odd card trick and self-awareness excercise. The material this class is learning is quite advanced, and we are introducing the History of the Maya, as well as some advanced maths and language.

The kids in Toliman head into 5th Grade in 2009 on the back of some great results, bearing in mind the majority of indigenous children don't even have the chance to get this far. 75% across the board, with Blanca Noemi, Wendy Marisol and Sonia scoring in the 90's and Leti and Katy in the high 80's!

These statistics prove that Phoenix is working in Itzapa and Guatemala. When you think that these children wouldn't have had the chance to even receive any form of education, and then to earn the marks they are receiving at school, is testament to all the volunteers' hard work and input.

The majority of volunteers we receive each year admit they don't have much, if any, knowledge of the Spanish prior to coming out, though after their lessons they generally have a working knowledge of Spanish, and by following the curriculum we have, it works, when one remembers that all the classes are conducted in Spanish and the children, whose first language is Kaqchikel, are learning as much as they obviously are.

An update on Agua and Tajumulco, who now receive English, will be coming shortly! Thankyou everyone who has worked with us in Itzapa up to now, the results are proof that all your hard work has been rewarded!


Anonymous said...

Excelent job guys!, that´s the true with a little spanish you can do lots of things with the kids. Well done to the volunteers of GVI in Itzapa and Santa Maria in GUATEMALA!!
Cheers, Doreen xx

Gerry Morgan. said...

Fantastic to see things going well. I did as much as I could with my limited Spanish but know that some progress was made with the kids. Every little helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dom, excellent write up, so chuffed to have been a part of it.
You guys do such a great job and the results you get are such a credit to you.
Very happy memories of my GVI experiences, bye Jane

How does GVI Phoenix make a difference?

The following film was made in Guatemala, though the message is the same across all GVI Phoenix projects