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Guatemala Promo…?

Courtesy: Google Fair-Use Images

On November 18th, 2009 Jorge Chojolan came to Lyndon State College and told his story about the foundation of his school in Guatemala called Miguel Angel Asturias Academy. He set up this school for children who can’t afford daily education. Chojolan talked about how he had a hard life when he was younger, and he wanted to make a change in his life. He started the Miguel Angel Academy because he knew that there were many people like him that weren’t able to get a good education.

At the presentation, Chojolan, along with a translator, gave several figures about Guatemala and it’s education, and those figures proved that not many children get any education due to poverty. Around 80% of Guatemala’s people are poor and make less than $3 a day. There are nearly two million people who are illiterate and only one out of ten children enter high school. In 2007, there were only 51 public schools and 210 private schools in the country. All of those figures were disturbing to Chojolan, so that’s why he formed the Miguel Angel Academy. His academy gives access to education for poor children. The school only charges $10 a month for schooling, and if a family can’t afford the payments, the school gives the family a scholarship to attend the school. The school focuses on teaching them to think and to teach reality. From 1995 to 2009 over 2,500 children have been educated thanks to the academy. The mission of the school overall is to transform Guatemala. The next steps for the school is to improve salaries, furnish four classrooms, construct a third floor, and maybe even open another school. After Chojolan spoke, two other spokespeople for the school and the program clarified some of what Chojolan said, and how American citizens can help Guatemala and the school. They then showed a video about why people should help out Chojolan’s program.

Most of the presentation seemed like a promotional stunt for the program that Chojolan and others created. They didn’t really give specific details about the trip they offered to students who wanted to help the school and Guatemala, and they make the trip seem like more of a vacation than a “mission”. The video they showed looked like one big commercial for Guatemala. They never gave out numbers on how much the program would cost, which it would probably cost in the thousands to go. Those costs would probably include travel, food, lodging, some money towards the school, and payment to the Chojolan and the two other spokespeople to make these presentations/promotional stunts at other school. Chojolan’s school seemed like a great thing for Guatemala, but it seems like they were a lot of hidden figures that the spokespeople weren’t giving us, like on how they afford to run the school on $360 a year from only a handful of students. Also another hidden figure was who pays for Chojolan and the two spokespeople to travel around to schools to promote their program. One of the spokespeople said that a council paid for them to come to Lyndon State College, but they probably didn’t pay for all of the costs. That would have been wicked expensive (lodging, flight, food costs), probably several hundred dollars for each person. While I thought Chojolan’s presentation was insightful, overall I think most of the presentation was a little bit of a promotional stunt.

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November 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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