"Education for All" is the theme for our Guatemala Gala coming up on Sunday, April 23. We are lifting up the various forms of education administered by the ILAG:
- El Mirador Primary School
- Scholarships for secondary and university students
- Leadership retreats
- Theological training
- Women's retreats
- Centro Educativo Milagro (Women's Education Center)
The reality in Guatemala doesn't fit with that slogan, however. Education is not available for all. The government is reducing the budget for education, leaving children, teens, and young adults with few opportunities. Here is what Pastor Karen Castillo wrote to me just this morning:
"Our country is confronting new challenges with the government. The subsistence farmers and indigenous organizations are demanding basic services, such as education and health care. In cutting the budgets for education and health, the government has created a serious situation for the public. There is very little opportunity for education in our country. Almost 50% of the school-aged children do not have access to education.
"The small grain of sand that you (in the U.S.) offer to support education through the ILAG is very important."
How can we continue to provide that small grain of sand which currently supports 32 students in preschool, 64 students in grades K-6, and 28 students in secondary and university levels? How can we lift up the four young ladies who are living at the Lutheran Center in an effort to study and discover what God intends for them in the future? How can we support the young men who also desire opportunities to prepare for a better life?
We will highlight this ministry at our benefit gala on April 23. We will hear directly from Pastor Karen at the event, as well as at numerous small group meetings at churches during her visit here in Minnesota in April. Please keep the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala in your prayers, praying for the teachers and the students who desire a chance to grow.
With much hope for the future,
Janet Metcalfe, Chair
Guatemala Companion Synod Task Force of the Saint Paul Area Synod