Pictured above: Alison Kelly (left) in the classroom
Imagine lining up 100 school aged children, and out of those 100 you can only pick 5 to go on to high school. This may seem like an absurd concept to you, but to children in Guatemala it is reality. The national average for a Guatemalan child attending school is 3 years. For most families in Guatemala education is a luxury.
We asked Alison Kelly, Co-Director of PanaKids Biliteracy Program, to help us understand education issues at origin, specifically Guatemala. Ms. Kelly explained that Guatemala is a nation that is struggling to recover from national disasters, declining tourism, and malnutrition in addition to education issues. So why is education such an important issue? At this point, only 40% of school-aged children attend school, due to the fact that parents need their children to work to help pay for their next meal. Nearly a quarter of Guatemalans earn only a dollar a day. Even if parents understand the long term benefits of a basic education, it remains financially inaccessible. More than half of the population is living below the national poverty line and 15 % live in extreme poverty, according to the CIA WORLD FACT BOOK, 2010.
But there is hope. In 2009, the Guatemalan government declared that education should be free to all Guatemalan children. However, according to Kelly, the country has not developed the infrastructure for serving all children in Guatemala. But the children living in the Atitlan region of Guatemala have an advantage. With the help of PanaKids Biliteracy Program, children develop literacy in English and Spanish, as well as learn to honor and cultivate their native Mayan language, Kaqchikel. This develops a positive self concept and maintains healthy ties to their family and heritage.
PanaKids program is a great program helping to break the cycle of poverty for Guatemala children, along with other beneficial programs that assist those who cultivate and process coffee at origin.
Issues like this are abundant at origin and often go overlooked. At BUNN we are passionate about improving the lives of those who help us deliver a quality beverage to you, and we are proud to support organizations such as PanaKids.
Pana Kids Blog http://panakids.org/blog/