How a single child is impacted GRACES helps Escuela Integrada support children and their families in the following ways:
Realize the reality of poverty and recognize the power of potential by Combating Child Labor
26% 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 for children living in poverty more than 15 years ago in Antigua, Guatemala. The name of the school in English means, “Integrated School for the Working Children,” as it was opened to serve children who were working on the streets. There has been an estimated 70% 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 is now a psychologist at the school working toward his doctorate in special education.
Realize the reality of poverty and 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% of the work in Guatemala is informal, therefore meaning 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 - without running water or electricity - with dirt floors, corrugated metal roofs, and walls made up of cardboard and plywood. Some also barely get by with less than a few dollars per day to feed multiple children. Other students live in stable concrete structures and have all of the basic necessities but their families are unable to afford education.
Ana grew up with an alcoholic father and an 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. Today, she is an employee at Ahava who supports our after-school program.
Realize the reality of poverty and recognize the power of potential by Ending Violence
Nearly 5% of women in Guatemala report being sexually abused before 15. (World Health Organization). Families sacrifice a lot for their children to come to school. Even by simply walking to school, children are at risk of being robbed, 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. In his family, Francisco is one of 10 children raised by a single mother. He attended Escuela Integrada and is now a second grade teacher at the school where his two children are also receiving an education.