Help needed urgently for school project in Guatemala

Tuesday, 1 May 2001
Ulrike Bessell

Dear brothers and sisters,

My name is Ulrike Bessell and my family have lived in Guatemala as missionaries for 4 years.

We started a school project in a remote indigenous village almost 4 yrs. ago. We started with 20 of the poorest children. By now it has grown into a registered primary school (6 grades) and one preparatory grade. We have close to 150 students many of whom are extremely poor, and come from families which were especially victimized during the civil war in this country. We have 7 teachers and 1 director. This school is bilingual. Tzutuhil is the language of the indigenous people of the town and they have to learn Spanish as a 2nd language. Our school is the only bilingual school there. It is a very exciting project with many possibilities.

As some of you may know Guatemala has still a very high percentage of analphabetism and education is one of the most urgent needs especially in the rural areas.

By now the project is very well recognized in the community and some local people are starting to contribute in different ways. For example we receive some food donations. This way we can offer to the children porridge 3 times a week. We also received help from other organizations in form of chairs, tables and whiteboards as well as some didactical material.

Since the Family Federation is still small in Guatemala, with most of the core members with no resources we struggle every month to make ends meet to pay for the teachers. They are all young teachers from the village and have a monthly salary of about $100. Some of them have family to take care of. In order to maintain the school we need to spend about $800 each month, but we fall short of this amount many times.

In short - we urgently need some financial help for this school project! Up to this point we could not establish a financial foundation for our activities in this country, but we are working on it. It would be most wonderful if we could receive some support every month for this special project.

If you feel moved to help or if you would like more information you may write to me privatly.

Thank you very much for reading this message and hoping for some response from you.


E-mail: Gerhard Ernst and Ulrike Bessell