AMIGOS DE GUATEMALA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. What is Amigos de Guatemala? I write my check to Groveland Rotary, is this a Groveland Rotary project?
A. Amigos de Guatemala is a partnership of many Rotary Clubs and other service clubs (Kiwanis, Soroptimist, etc.) who combine their resources to provide quality humanitarian service for the people of Guatemala. The primary focus is on the rural poor of the Guatemalan highlands in and around Zacualpa. Groveland Rotary is one of the Amigos de Guatemala partnership clubs. The treasurer of Groveland Rotary generously manages the money in the United States for Amigos de Guatemala.Amigos de Guatemala has direct funded projects, matching grant funded projects and the Scholarship Program in the Zacualpa area.
Q. How often are my sponsorship contributions made?
A. You may choose to make your contributions monthly, semi-annually, or annually. You can make your contribution by check or money order written to Groveland Rotary Club. Your sponsorship will probably start at the beginning of the school year (January through October in Guatemala). If you start a sponsorship in the middle of the school year you can choose to contribute for the full year and some of the extra money will reimburse the family for uniforms and school supplies from earlier in the year if needed. Many families borrow the money for these expenses and have a very difficult time repaying the loan.
Q. How long will my sponsorship last?
A. The length of your sponsorship is up to you. Your initial agreement is for one year. Continuing is up to you. Sponsorship is voluntary and you will receive an invitation to continue your sponsorship for the following year in October.
Q. What will I receive with my sponsorship?
A. As a sponsor you receive a letter containing a photo of your sponsored child and biographical information. You also receive updates each year so you can watch him or her grow and change and learn more about how the scholarship program is impacting his or her life. You receive four letters during the school year from your student to help you learn about your student’s life through his or her own words and experiences. Sponsors’ lives are enriched by exchanging communication with these students.
Q. What happens when my student graduates from Basico (junior high school)?
A. This is an important question. Basico (junior high) is in Zacualpa and high school is more than one hour away by bus in San Jose del Quiche. Diversificado (high school) is an important educational milestone in Guatemala. Therefore, when students graduate from junior high school, we encourage them to continue in high school although even a junior high education helps them. Completion of high school in Guatemala qualifies one for many occupations and professions which require a college education in the USA (i.e. elementary school teacher, and a variety of medical technician jobs). High school can cost more than double that of junior high; $800 – $1,000 per year. Sponsors can choose to contribute the increased costs of high school or we will locate a co-sponsor for your student when he/she enters high school. You can decide on a full or shared sponsorship at that time.
Q. Will my contribution go to my sponsored student?
A. Yes. The financial needs of the students vary depending on the distance they live from school. Some students live near the school and can walk to school. Some students live as much as 10 miles via VERY rough roads from the school and must take a bus when the busses are running. Some students will even need a boarding home arrangement in Zacualpa and/or Quiche when he/she enters high school. Therefore, monthly school expenses can vary from one student to another by as much as $20 per month. We have tried to estimate the average cost per student without risking any shortage with unfulfilled promises for any. After all the school related expenses of the sponsored students are paid we use the balance for operational expenses or to house students.
Q. Who can I contact if I have any questions or problems?
A. Please contact the following:
Email: CONTACT US
or, call either Jean Herschede, Co-Director at 707-332-9880 or Robert Hatmaker, Co-Director at 209-840-1523
Q. May I write to my sponsored student?
A. Getting to know your child through correspondence can be one of the greatest joys of student sponsorship. The love and encouragement in a letter can have a lasting impact on the life of your sponsored student. Many sponsored students have never written a letter before, so we ask that sponsors be patient as the students may be fearful, embarrassed or unsure of what to write. This may happen even though writing to their sponsors is a “condition of receiving the scholarship”. Students will probably write in Spanish. If you can’t get the letters translated, please let us know and we will get someone to do the translation. You can write in English and someone in Guatemala will read the letters in Spanish to the students. Corresponding with your sponsored child is not required and some sponsors choose not to write. However, corresponding can be one of the most rewarding parts of sponsorship – for both you and your sponsored student.One possibility is to sponsor a student in the name of a child, grandchild, or other youth. The correspondence can be exchanged between the student in Guatemala and the youth in America. We ask that you supervise any correspondence between young people.The students cannot ask for any money or gifts directly from the sponsor. Also we ask sponsors not to discuss any plans for travel to the United States by the student. If you have any questions or concerns about the correspondence content or process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.