Developing Scholars is dedicated to improving education for some of the poorest children in the Americas. We provide educational opportunities to children living in the highlands of Guatemala that are ignored or underserved by the government and other NGO's .
Through our educational programs, we are able to transform the lives of some of Guatemala's poorest and most vulnerable children. Without our help, many of these students wouldn't be able afford to attend school. We invest their future by covering some of the basic costs of education such as transportation, school supplies, as well as training teachers, providing counselling and academic and life skill workshops. We have a unique, scalable and sustainable model with a proven track record of success. We believe that this model has the potential to change even more lives in a part of the world that need it the most.
Developing Scholars is a Canadian registered charity created in 2007 to provide opportunities for Guatemalan children living in disadvantaged areas of the country. We are effective in increasing educational opportunities in these areas of Guatemala so that indigenous boys and girls living in poverty can attend school, receive quality instruction, and obtain the skills they need to improve their lives.
We work with community leaders to identify and support projects that have a high degree of community support and involvement.
Our largest program provides scholarships each year to over 30 carefully selected high school and university students in the rural provinces of Altaverapas and Quiche in the Guatemalan highlands. Our scholars receive a small monthly advance to cover basic expenses such as transportation and school supplies. Students and their parents agree to a set of challenging expectations including attendance, academic standards, and attendance at workshops that support both the students and their families. Student's are carefully monitored and receive counselling when required. Many of our students are the first in their families to attend high school and some of their parents do not know how to read or write. Our scholarship program is run by local Guatemalans and we have enjoyed a success rate of over 90%. Some of our students have gone on to study at the university level as teachers, agronomists and other fields with many of them returning to support their communities.
Our second largest program pays for two teachers salaries at an elementary school for 100 special needs children in the poor village of San Mateo, close to Antigua Guatemala. Many of these students have very difficult home situations or learning disabilities which are not adequately accommodated by the local school system. This school, translated as "Seeds of Hope and Love" provides a safe and supportive environment for these students to advance academically in an environment that provides emotional support and encourages self-estime.
Our third and smallest project supports Debate Clubs in both Antigua Guatemala and the rural areas where we operate.These students learn research skills, how to formulate a convincing argument, and valuable presentation skills while they debate topics of relevance to their country and their lives. This program is let by a local lawyer and her colleagues who volunteer their time for this program.
Sourcing and managing our projects effectively requires a strong local presence which is provided by our agent of 10 years, Alice Lee So Fong. Alice founded a like-minded NGO called CasaSito and this association with Alice and CasaSito allows us to have an effective and efficient program administered by local Guatemalan staff under our direction. We offer a big "bang for the buck" for a small grass-roots charity with virtually no overhead costs. Our co-founder, John Eby, resides in Guatemala for several months a year and monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of our programs.