Frequently Asked Questions
Question not answered? Please contact us.
How much does it cost to sponsor a student?
During the three years of Middle School the cost is $400 per year per student. During the three years of High School the cost is $800 per year. Since the students have to travel a much greater distance for High School, the scholarship includes transportation.
How often are my sponsorship contributions made?
You may choose to make your contributions semi-annually, or annually. You can make your contribution by check or money order written to Amigos de Guatemala. 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 of these families borrow the money for these expenses and have a very difficult time repaying the loan.
How long will my sponsorship last?
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. Amigos de Guatemala hopes that you support your student through high school.
What will I receive with my sponsorship?
As a sponsor you receive a letter containing a photo of your sponsored child and biographical information. You also receive updates to learn more about how the scholarship program is impacting his or her life. You receive three 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. Sponsor can also exchange communication with these students, which many have found enriching.
What happens when my student graduates from Básico (middle school)?
This is an important question. Básico (middle school) is in Zacualpa, and high school is more than one hour away by bus in San José del Quiché or even farther in communities like Sololá and Xela. Diversificado (high school) is an important educational milestone in Guatemala. Therefore, when students graduate from middle school, we encourage them to continue onto high school although even a middle school education helps them. Completion of high school in Guatemala qualifies students 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 middle school ($800 – $1,000) per year. Sponsors can choose to contribute the full cost 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.
Will my contribution go to my sponsored student?
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 away via VERY rough roads and must take a bus when the buses 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. After all the school related expenses of the sponsored students are paid we use the balance for expenses such as Internet at the library, which is available to all students, or new computers and printers.
Can I support the program even if I don’t want to sponsor a student?
We would love that. A donation to our General Account will support our other initiatives. It will help us keep our library open, where the students can study and have internet access, support other educational courses such as career counseling and agricultural best practices as well as other special programs for the students. These funds help provide any medical needs our students may encounter. Please indicate on your check how you would like the monies used.
May I write to my sponsored student?
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 we will translate the letters in Spanish for the students. Corresponding with your sponsored student 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.
Who can I contact if I have any questions or problems?
Please contact the following:
Jean Herschede, Director
Amigos de Guatemala
P.O. Box 940
Cloverdale, CA 95425
Become a sponsor and change a life
Become a sponsor and change a life