Totonicapán (pronounced Toe-toe-ni-ca-pan) area schools have 6 teachers and about 250 children. Classes are held in the mornings from January to October. Students are graded bi-monthly. Students are taught in both Spanish and the native language of Quiche for three years. Children must be proficient in Spanish by second grade to continue.
Xenajtajuyup school (pronounced “Xen-ech-ta-who-youp”), which has been the focus of WIT’s efforts, is a progressive school led by Oscar Garcia, an experienced principal who has taught at the school for more than 20 years. Most faculty members have taught at Xenajtajuyup for at least 10 years, and the school enjoys a close relationship with the community. Parents regularly volunteer and are active on committees.
For instance, in 2003, the school added a second level on to the existing building by collaborating with the local community through 10 years of fundraising. Similarly, the faculty convinced local businesses to donate five typewriters to pique student curiosity about technology and entice them to stay in school.
WIT continues to expand and fine tune the program in Xenajtajuyup. We hope to expand to other Totonicapán area schools as resources permit. WIT’s approach is to build relationships with potential schools in order to build a solid foundation for the organization’s effectiveness in the future.