• Courtney Heard

Give Underprivileged Kids iN Guatemala the Gift of STEM

A Guatemalan child may get through their entire education without exploring critical thought at all. There are many reasons why. First, so many kids in Guatemala live under the poverty line and the cost of educational materials is a major deterrent to getting a full education. Some kids only attend school for a few years, and even then the school days are short. Transportation is a huge issue as well in the more rural areas of Guatemala. Some kids would have to walk two hours each way on rough terrain to get to school, so they just don’t bother. Another reason why an education with critical thought is elusive in Guatemala is, of course, religion.

Guatemala is an overwhelmingly religious country. Close to 90% of the population of Guatemala identifies as Christian. There are ongoing debates about introducing Christianity into the curriculum and religious and superstitious thought is pushed on children at home. Secondary education is not common, and the average graduate of public education would never qualify for entrance to a good university.

For girls, specifically, education is not necessary. They are raised to assume the only place for them is in the home - cooking, cleaning and rearing children.

So, when International Association of Atheists was asked to assist in bringing an afterschool STEAM program to the impoverished children in the Guatemalan Highlands, we jumped at the chance. There is no better way to tackle the lack of education, superstitious thinking and the heavy reliance on god than by bringing critical thought to the up-and-coming generation.

In partnership with Humanistas Guatemala and Yo’o Guatemala, IAA is launching a fundraising campaign. We’re trying to raise enough money to equip the Yo’o afterschool program with STEAM kits to ignite the creative spark of children towards science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

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The kits are assembled by Kaleidoscopios, an educational non-profit in Guatemala. Each kit contains the materials to explore several different projects that introduce children to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). They cost $50 USD each and our first aim will be to purchase 12 kits, putting our goal at $600. Providing this is a success, we will move on to our second tier, which is 31 kits and a goal of $1550. Finally, if all works out and we’re hitting our goals, we’re going to aim for 52 kits with a final goal of $2600.

This will be enough for 43 students and their instructors.

We’re asking you to chip in to bring the gift of STEAM to a population of kids who would otherwise have no access to consistent education in science, tech, engineering, art and math. We’re asking you to consider what the introduction of critical thought can do for this generation of Guatemalans. Imagine, especially, what this means for little girls who might thrive in academics and who have no interest in homemaking but have never felt they can truly dream of anything else.

We’re asking you to chip in any amount you can to help bring a secular, evidence-based educational program that focuses on critical thought to a group of kids who would otherwise have no access to any such thing. Even if all you can afford is a dollar, it all adds up in the end. Any donation is welcome.

Click here to donate.

Please also consider using the share buttons on this page to spread the word. Let’s give Guatemala the gift of critical thought and set these kids up for success...together.

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