Being a new intern for Pueblo a Pueblo, I assisted in the organization, coordination, and hard work needed to get these backpacks ready for our event. When distribution day came, excitement was high as all the students impatiently waited in line to receive materials for the new school year. However, the highlight for me was seeing the huge smiles on the students’ faces as they enthusiastically tore open their backpacks and examined their new supplies.
Not only do these backpacks get children more excited for school, but the students know that being a scholarship recipient requires their commitment to attend school regularly. In a place where only 60% of students complete the sixth grade, attendance in schools is crucial to escape the cycle of poverty that plagues most indigenous, coffee-farming communities. Through scholarship awards, families agree to prioritize education for their children. In return, Pueblo a Pueblo eliminates additional obstacles to accessing education by providing basic supplies, medical check-ups, and targeted academic support from kindergarten through sixth grade.
Seeing the students receive their backpacks made me realize the positive impact that this project has on families in Santiago and the surrounding communities. Not only were the students full of excitement and eager to continue their schooling, but many of their mothers looked on with pride, thankful for the opportunity to see their children succeed where many don’t. I’m glad I was able to help with this event and look forward to the beginning of new school year here in Guatemala.