Understanding the key role that education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty, since its inception, Xela AID has focused on providing learning opportunities and removing obstacles to learning. One of its very first partnerships was with the community of Loblatzan, and involved raising a proper school there. Today, Xela AID continues to partner with Escuela Primaria Loblatzan, an elementary school, as well as another elementary school and two high schools: Escuela Primaria San Martín Chiquito, Instituto Basico de San Martín Chiquito, and Instituto por Cooperativa Las Nubes.
Escuela Primaria Loblatzan
At right: School at a recent celebration, original class room built by Xela AID in background
1992 – Present. When a Xela AID team arrived in the village of Loblatzan in 1992, team members found several dozen children studying in an old chicken coop. The were sitting on large stones and using planks laid across stones as their tables. The next year, Xela AID returned and in collaboration with the local community, built a single classroom. Men, women and children from the village worked side by side with Xela AID volunteers to complete this classroom which that would become the first of many in this school which serves children 7-13, and young adults through 15 years old who have fallen behind.
Today, the school has grown to eight classrooms, with Xela AID returning to add a second floor in 2006 made possible by the generosity of a single donor. Escuela Primaria Loblatzan now has eight teachers serving 300 students each weekday.
Xela AID’s collaboration with this school continues, with investments made on an as-needed basis. School leadership is hopeful that Xela AID may soon be able to assist with a library, an internet connection and computers.
Escuela Primaria San Martín Chiquito
2005 – Present.This primary school serves children 7-15 years old, largely, Mám speaking and critically underserved. Traditionally, primary school spans ages 7-13 years of age, but many of the children at this school are from exceptionally poor families, have faced tremendous obstacles to studying, and have falling behind.
In order to improve conditions, learning, health and recreation at the school, Xela AID has provided:
• Matching funds to funding raised by the community for construction, remodeling, and the addition of four classrooms serving 120 children and young adults;
• Scholarships to students and families (PEX Program) to relieve the obligation of contributing to the family income, so that more time can be spent on studies;
• Training on prevention of disease through improved hygiene, water purification, and awareness about environmental protection (provided sponsored trash receptacles to community);
• First aid training;
• Improvements to a basketball court;
• Safety training.
Additionally, a Xela AID volunteer provides English tutoring to students who wish to learn the language.
Instituto Basico de San Martín Chiquito
At right: High school student Anna Castillo has been sponsored through Xela AID's PEX program since she began elementary school.
2009-Present. For this school which serves young adults 14-18 years of age, Xela AID has provided desks and equipment for the school’s music program. When a Xela AID volunteer attended a music class where music was being described rather than listened to, the volunteer vowed to assist the program and donated his entire library of classical music which was delivered during the next summer Volunteer Vacation.
A number of children at this school enjoy Xela AID Educational Scholarships (through Xela aid’s PEX Program) that make it possible for them to be in school.
School leadership is hopeful that Xela AID may be able to assist with the construction of additional classrooms, expand the school’s small library, and add an internet connection and computers. To help motivate students to do their best, leadership have also asked that Xela AID provide a scholarship for the school’s best student to continue to technical school or college, which the organization plans to do as resources become available.
Instituto por Cooperativa Las Nubes
2006-Present.This small school is operated entirely by the local community without government assistance. Serving approximately 60 students in a remote area, the school operates with three teachers — one volunteer, one paid by parents of the children attending, and one paid a modest honorarium by Xela AID through the generosity of a single donor.
In the future, the school would like to expand to include additional classrooms, add a library, add internet connectivity and computers. This school does not currently have a single computer. Xela AID aims to provide these resources as funding becomes available.