All profits from the hiking trips goes directly to the operation of Escuala de La Calle and Hogar Abierto. The school currently has over 175 students between the ages of 5 and 15. The Hogar is a dormitory for 17 adolescents between the ages of 9 and 18. Most of these kids would not be going to school, and some of them would have no safe place to live if not for the operation of these two facilities.
One afternoon, long time Quetzaltrekker volunteer Amir took us over to the school to see where the money goes.
Amir and Ruth at the Escuala de a Calle school in the subdivision of Las Rosas, Quetzaltenango
Some of the children playing at lunch hour.
They teach the kids about the environment too!
The school has been operating since 1995. Many of the graduates have gone on to become successful accountants, carpenters, teachers and parents themselves. Some of them actually teach at the school now!
We were also brought to the Hogar Abierto. We didn't take any photos there, preferring to respect the resident's privacy. The current hogar is home to 17 young people, but they will be moving April 1st to a brand new home where there will eventually be 30 residents. The children do their own laundry, meals, and cleaning with supervision. They also do outside activities that teach them other skills like woodworking, weaving, and even a running club!
Many of these kids would be street children, living and working on the streets of Quetzaltenango if not for the money raised by the hikes done by Quetzaltrekkers.
We don't support many charities because we find that too much of the money raised goes towards a bloated administration rather than the cause itself. All of the staff at Quetzaltrekkers are volunteers. The hard working guides make a minimum three month commitment and pay their own rent and food while not out on a trek. The only paid staff are the teachers at the school and they make wages equivalent to any other teacher in Gautemala.
Quetzaltrekkers supplies approximately 85% of the operating costs of the school, the rest being made up of individual donations and grants.
They have a special project on the go right now. The building of the new residence that will house 30 kids. It's scheduled to open April 1st, and although it will open on time they are still a little short on their money raising goal.
We've never asked our readers for any money, but we believe in what Quetzaltrekkers does. If you've enjoyed reading about our hiking adventures, please consider making a donation. It's simple to do and you can even specify where you want your money to go. Towards the new building, towards the education of the kids, towards the Quetzaltrekkers scholarship fund, or just towards general expenses.
You can do it online, and you can use a credit card or paypal. United States residents even get a tax deduction receipt!
If you want to learn more about Quetzaltrekkers, read here... http://www.quetzaltrekkers.com/guateabout.html