How a single child is impacted GRACES helps Escuela Integrada support children and their families in the following ways:

Education

  • A normal school day in Guatemala is a half day, however all students at Escuela Integrada go to school for a full day.
  • Students receive a quality education that includes extracurricular classes that would not normally be accessible for them.
  • Older students receive weekly workshops on gender equality, sexual education and self confidence.
  • Proyecto Capaz provides after-school tutoring, which is available to all students at Escuela Integrada and in the community.

Nutrition

According to recent studies, 50 percent of all children in Guatemala under five-years-old experience stunted growth due to malnutrition (US Aid, 2016).

Each child that walks through Escuela Integrada receives a full breakfast and lunch every school day.

Students receive supplemental nutritional support through occasional food bags, provided to families. The students in most need are able to take food home from leftovers at lunch.

After school snacks are given to children who attend Proyecto Capaz, an after-school program.

Spiritual Formation

All grades receive weekly Bible classes through the “Bible Blast” program.

The whole school participates in morning devotions four days per week.

Escuela Integrada partners with local and foreign churches and parishes, so students can be exposed to additional faith-based activities.

Students at Proyecto Capaz receive one-on-one discipleship.

Emotional Support

Escuela Integrada has two staff psychologists who work with the students individually and in group settings.

The psychologists perform weekly home visits to students’ houses, working not only with the student, but also with the whole family unit.

Students engage in weekly sessions where they practice the Tapping technique as a way to relieve stress.

Proyecto Capaz serves as a safe space for students to be after school.

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 the director of Proyecto Capaz.

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 orharassed, 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.