The Escuela Caracol in San Marcos La Laguna has always been a role model. It was initially the only school in Guatemala to teach the Mayan language – Kaqchikel – in addition to Spanish. State schools followed this example. The school's children come from families belonging to the Mayan peoples as well as immigrants, mainly from the USA. Children from low-income families can go to school for free, while the other families pay school fees. Like so many things during the pandemic, this well-functioning system came apart at the seams. With the help of the Joint Action: Corona Aid, the situation was transformed for the better, as a team from the school report in their thank-you letter:
For a whole school year we were unable to receive children on the school premises. Thanks to the support of our donors, we were able to give our students access to education despite all the challenges during the pandemic. The teachers made home visits, and they were able to offer good support and accompany the children in their learning at home. In this way, continuity in learning was maintained.
Since January this year, we have been allowed to welcome the pupils back into our classrooms, while maintaining hygiene safety measures. The children bring their own masks and we provide disinfectant for their hands. In the morning, each child's temperature is taken and the children wash their hands with running water. However, sometimes there is no water in the school's pipes, in which case school is suspended until we have running water again.
Every day our teachers guide the children through the basic principles and practices of prevention - washing hands with soap and water, using masks, ventilating classrooms, cleaning and disinfecting rooms to reduce the risk of spread in our educational institution.
On behalf of the entire team here at Escuela Caracol, we would like to tell you how grateful we are for your donation of €20,000 last year. We will honour this donation and cannot thank you enough for your incredible generosity and support.