How a single child is impacted GRACES helps Escuela Integrada support children and their families in the following ways:
Realize the reality of poverty, recognize the power of potential by Combating Child Labor
Twenty-six percent of children in Guatemala are still engaged in child labor (Save the Children). They often shine shoes, work as street vendors and help with agricultural work.
Escuela Integrada began more than 15 years ago in Antigua, Guatemala for children living in poverty. The name in English means, “Integrated School for the Working Children.” Escuela Integrada started as a school to serve children who were working on the streets. There has been an estimated 70 percent decrease in the number of children who continue to work after enrolling in Escuela Integrada.
Juan was a victim of child labor and sex trafficking. He was a student at Escuela Integrada, and, now, is a psychologist at the school. He is currently working on his doctorate in special education.
Realize the reality of poverty, recognize the power of potential by Overcoming Generational Poverty
In Guatemala, the minimum wage is $350 per month. However, according to the National Survey of Employment and Income, 70 percent of the work in Guatemala is informal, and, therefore means that workers do not even receive minimum wage. This is the reality for the majority of the families GRACES works with. The average income for the families at Escuela Integrada is $271.58, and we believe this to be even less since some families are unaware of how much they make.
The children of GRACES’ programs come from a spectrum of impoverished households. There are some children who live in tiny rooms no bigger than a closet, with dirt floors, corrugated metal roofs, and walls made up of cardboard and plywood, without running water or electricity. Some also barely get by with less than a few dollars per day to feed multiple children. Other students come from households that are stable concrete structures and have all of the basic necessities but they are not able to afford education.
Ana grew up with an alcoholic father and overwhelmed mother in a small one-bedroom household with dirt floors. She became the primary caretaker of her three younger siblings by the time she was seven years old. Ana was a student at Escuela Integrada where her two daughters now attend. She is now an employee with Ahava and supports our after-school program.
Realize the reality of poverty, recognize the power of potential by Ending Violence
Nearly 5 percent of women in Guatemala report being sexually abused before the age of 15. (WHO) Families sacrifice a lot for their children to come to school, even in walking to school children can be at risk of being robbed or harassed, or experiencing sexual violence.
Through holistic education, GRACES provides stability and security for students. Students participate in weekly workshops that focus on knowing your rights and combating the chain of violence in families and communities.
Francisco’s brother died in his arms when he was 15 years old. He watched as a gang member gunned him down one day in the market. Francisco is one of 10 children who were raised by a single mother. He went to Escuela Integrada and is now the 2nd grade teacher at the school. His two children are also receiving an education at the school.