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Roots & Wings International promotes elementary through university education in rural Guatemala. We work with indigenous youth whose families earn approximately $2 per day growing coffee. Our work is rooted in recognizing the importance of culturally responsive education that empowers students to connect their cultural identity with sustainable social and economic development.
Currently, the organization's focus is on the Boca Costa region of Guatemala. This region is located in southwest Guatemala, on the Pacific coast, and is primarily populated by indigenous K'iche' speakers. People in this region survive on subsistence farming and some production of coffee and bananas for exportation. The majority of the population studies no further than the sixth grade and the average family income is less than $60 per month.
The immediate goal of Roots & Wings Intl is to foster university education in this region for the purpose of promoting a group of indigenous professionals from the area. Once an applicant pool of local bilingual professionals is formed, the organization's goal will be to establish a high school run by these local leaders.
The overall goal is to offer a high quality education that prepares students to become competitive university applicants, while preserving and valuing their rich Mayan heritage. To make post-secondary studies a possibility, Roots & Wings Intl will offer university scholarships to all qualifying high school graduates who choose to continue on to their university studies.
- Erik Swanson
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