PROGRAMS & PILOTS
Since 1995, Task-Tarea has provided education scholarships to over 1,000 Maya girls in the Solola province of Guatemala. The scholarships provide both incentive and assistance to families that are otherwise high risk to keep their daughters out of public schools due to economic and cultural factors. Educating girls has been found to have a powerful multiplier effect on their siblings, children, and grandchildren. This “girl-effect” is identified by the United Nations and other international organizations as one of the most powerful force that elevates villages out of poverty.
This year, Task-Tarea is providing scholarships to Maya girls in 3 Sololá villages: Pamezabal, Tzucubal, and Los Angeles. The scholarships are given to daughters of the poorest families in the village and are limited to one per family. The scholarship stays with the girl year after year starting in pre-school and continuing through the completion of high school – so long as she passes each grade.
The scholarship program forms a foundation for Task-Tarea to build relationships of mutual trust and respect with the village, which make it easier to introduce other programs and initiatives that help the school and surrounding community.
Global Classroom Program
Task-Tarea started a global classroom program in 2016. This program partners a U.S. public school with a Guatemala public school, enabling children and classrooms to collaborate with each other through supervised video conferences, shared science experiments, live classroom cams, or even gift exchanges. The global classroom allows children to share dreams, culture, stories, or school lessons with peers in another country.
We supported an initial partnership between third graders at Braddock Elementary School in Virginia and Tzucubal Elementary School in Solola. The partnership allowed us to evolve our approaches to technology, curriculum, and interaction – lessons that we will apply to other schools and partnerships in the near future.
Solola Teacher Training
Since 2017, Task-Tarea has partnered with the University del Valle Altiplano to provide training to the teachers of Solola. Every year, Guatemala teachers are required by the government to take a modest amount of ongoing training. Task-Tarea currently offers such training in two areas: Technology in the Classroom and Special Needs children. The training empowers the teachers to better serve their students, but it also helps our charity build contacts and gain profiles of more schools.
a. School Murals – In 2019 over 500 students received the gift of imagination and hope when 8 artists and countless volunteers began to paint murals on the walls of the Tzucubal and Los Angeles schools. What was once a drab and lifeless building was transformed in just a few days into a colorful house of learning for its students and teachers.
These artists worked tirelessly over 9 days to reimagine the walls of the schools; where once there was chipping paint and sadness, now the façade is adorned with vibrant colors and the Quetzal as a reminder of Guatemalan pride. Paintings of strong women and girls line the building that will help produce the next generation of strong, intelligent, and now well-educated Mayan girls.
b. Student Visa and Visit – While a full K-12 education is its own reward, we wanted to offer something special to a Task-Tarea scholarship recipient who had pursued public schooling too its fullest. A reward that would highlight the accomplishment and incentivize more girls (and boys) to stay in school.
With that in mind, Task-Tarea sponsored a U.S. tourist visa and round trip flight for Mayra Silvia Yac Chavez to visit Washington D.C. Silvia’s visit in August was closely watched by hundreds of families in Guatemala. She had the opportunity to visit the monuments, museums, and landmarks of the D.C. mall; received a tour of George Masson University; and was the Guest of Honor at Braddock Elementary school’s Guatemala day on August 27th.
c. School Gardens – The rich volcanic soils of Guatemala can support a wide and healthy variety of crops. In 2018, Task-Tarea invited the Ministry of Agriculture to set up school gardens in each school so that the students and families could learn first-hand how to cultivate and grow fruits and vegatbles other than corn and beans (which dominate the rural landscape).
Other Pilots and Initiatives
Task-Tarea is also piloting numerous other ideas to provide a wide variety of assistance to students, parents, and their surrounding communities.
Pilots that show the potential to be sustainable over time and repeatable at multiple schools may grow into additional programs in the future. Current pilots include:
- Creation and ongoing support of a Maya robotics team
- Drilling a water well
- Nutritional food supplements
- Partnerships with Guatemala businesses
- Donations of clothing and school supplies
- Sanitation and water quality