Announcing New Educational Initiatives in Guatemala and UgandaPosted on
In an effort to better the lives of coffee farmers and their families in the areas where we source our coffee, Jim’s Organic Coffee has committed to two new projects with trusted charity partners in Guatemala and Uganda.
Previous Support:Over the last 18 years, we have seen how literacy and education can lead to opportunity and lasting change through our work with Child Aid in Guatemala. Ongoing efforts at the school Tzanchaj, Atitlan, just down the mountain slopes from where our coffee is grown, have yielded incredible results. Through the building and stocking of a full library, the training of teachers and librarians, and the installation of literacy programming, the Tzanchaj school has seen tremendous change. The first few years of school can be difficult for the children in these rural villages around Lake Atitlan, where Mayan languages are spoken at home and Spanish is taught at school. At the Tzanchaj school, teachers read stories in both languages, reaffirming the students’ mother language while teaching language skills in Spanish. Exposure to books is crucial to children at this age learning a new language, as it increases their vocabulary through a love of reading.
The lasting effects of these changes at the school in Tzanchaj have made it a model school for the Child Aid program. Results can be seen in the enthusiasm and participation of the children, now much more engaged in classroom learning and reading time; but also in the numbers. Comprehensive testing of students in Reading for Life programs shows that Child Aid students improved 65% more than their peers in reading comprehension.
This Fall: PanabajThis fall, Child Aid and Jim’s Organic Coffee will begin implementing similar programming at a neighboring school in Panabaj, Guatemala. The four year program will include extensive teacher training of the school’s 15 teachers, four literacy book club programs for students, and a total of 1725 books provided to the school, providing a collection of at least 7 books per child in the school by program’s end. Jim’s Organic Coffee is thrilled to participate in and sponsor this program, and to see yet another school in this region flourish through literacy and reading.
Why Panabaj? Jim's Story"In my three visits to Guatemala over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the school and library in Tzanchaj grow and become a beacon of hope in the region. One visit though stands out and has a story worth telling. In late 2005, when Hurricane Stan was hitting Central America, I received a call that there had been a terrible mudslide in the region. I soon learned that while the school in Tzanchaj had been spared, the neighboring school in Panabaj and almost the entire village had been wiped out. I had plans to visit the area anyway and continued with my visit. The devastation from Stan and the mudslide was stark. There are two lasting images I have -- one of a basketball net at the school in Panabaj with mud a full 7 feet high; the net height being the measuring stick. The second, a row of tents in an open space in Tzanchaj, just steps from the school. It brought a certain sense of pride to see US-AID marked on the tents there in remote Guatemala. Not something many of us get to see. At the time, and as a small company, there was little we could do for Panabaj. We had made commitments to Tzanchaj, and we could only do so much. Plus our goal is not to be a relief organization -- there are plenty, like the Red Cross and US-AID, that do an incredible job with that. Nevertheless, some of the funds we had committed to Tzanchaj were appropriately used to accommodate additional students from Panabaj. Fast forward 7 years to a trip I made with my oldest daughter to the area. During the trip, a representative from our charity partner Child Aid commented that even after all that emergency aid, the one thing that still gives sustainable help to the area is the school and library in Tzanchaj. Wow. And so, when Child Aid wanted to implement the same literacy programming at Panabaj, and to set in place a new long term commitment to Panabaj, we enthusiastically embraced it."
- Jim Cannell, Founder and CEO of Jim's Organic Coffee