PROJECT NAME: Construction of Four Classrooms in the Villa Hermosa School – Help with the Still Roof Needed (as of 3/10/2023)
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Provide support and resources to complement the community raised funds to build four classrooms for four groups of students currently hosted in crumbling wooden structures in the Public Rural School of the Villa Hermosa Village, in Peten, Guatemala. The building to be constructed measures 92 x 53 feet. Each classroom will be 23 x 23 and will be made of rebar reinforced concrete, cinder blocks. The total cost of the project is USD $ 34,901.38, of which the community has already raised over a third of that amount. Individual donors and SOL contributed as well. We are looking now to just finish the final amount, which is just over $6,000 to put the roof on!
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY
Villa Hermosa is a rural community with roughly 2000 inhabitants in the La Libertad Municipality, Peten, Guatemala. It is located 55 miles away from La Libertad, the municipal capital, and 80 miles from Flores, the provincial capital. The
last five miles to the community is a dirt road that connects with the Las Ruinas Community in the main road to El Naranjo. The main income generating activities in the community are agriculture, commerce and public services. However, lots of people and businesses in the community also depend on remittances sent by relatives working abroad, mainly in the United States. Agriculture is aimed at producing staple food and raise cattle in small plots owned by the locals. Other sources of employment are stores, small informal businesses, and public services. There is electricity available in all houses and there is also running water service managed by a community committee. There is no public sanitation service; most houses have latrines or sanitary pits. The community has a public clinic managed by a professional nurse. This community is located within the Sierra de Lacandon National Park, which poses many restrictions in terms of resources management, aimed at protecting the environment and prevent harmful impacts in the environment. To implement the current project, the community had to have an environmental impact study completed by a professional, which received the approval of the National Committee of Protected Areas (CONAP). The study was completed by Defensores de la Naturaleza, the Park’s co-managing organization, upon lobbying by the community. The study is worth $1,600 and was funded by this organization.
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Villa Hermosa has three schools: one preschool, one elementary school and one middle school. Despite the lack of support by public authorities, the community has developed the unity, organization and strength to build most the educational infrastructure of the community. Of the 10 classrooms used by the pre-school and the elementary school, only two have been built with public funds.
The Public Rural Elementary School of Villa Hermosa has 206 students from 1st through 6th grade, and 9 teachers (including the School Principal). The school has 8 classrooms. But only four of them are in good condition (two of them built by the community). Four classrooms that were built with timber a long time ago, are currently falling apart. Most wood pieces are rotten or affected by termites and begin to represent a threat for the safety of the 112 students.
Besides, the conditions for a good quality education in the existing facilities are far from being the ideal ones. There are big holes and clefts in the walls, which allow wind, rain and dust to enter the classrooms, which causes disruptions in classes. The noise from outside and inside is another problem that prevent students from being focused in their classes. All this is affecting quality of the education and affect the self-esteem and motivation of students.
After failing to obtain support from different sources to start the construction of these four classrooms, the community and the school staff have decided to raise their own funds and start a project by themselves. The community has collected donations from people living in the community and migrants working in the United States to purchase part of the materials required for the project; parents are donating resources they have. They also keep lobbying and fundraising to complete the amount required to complete the project which consists of: a building measuring 92 x 23 feet with four classrooms measuring a 23 x 23 feet each. The foundations and the building will be made of cinder blocks with rebar-reinforced concrete columns and beams. The floor will be made of concrete reinforced with steel mesh. This will be finished with a thin and smooth cover made of cement and fine sand to ensure easy and thorough cleaning. The roof will be made of steel structure, with 4”x 2”x20’ steel beams and u-shaped 4”x2”x 20’ purlins. This structure will be roofed with galvanized metal sheets of different sizes. The project includes the installation of electrical wiring and lights. The doors will be locally made with metal frame and steel sheets. The windows will be protected with metal bars. So far, the school has collected 34% of the project budget, including labor.
Seeds of Learning will help this community to collect individual and institutional donations for this project to be completed. This will be a community led project and SOL will not be managing directly the resources donated through our organization. We will ask for receipts on the materials procured with our donations.
206 elementary school students