Since I started Make Money Your Way last July, I took a pledge to give 10% of my blogging income to support children education in my village. As you may have read in a previous update about the project, I gave two scholarships to the best two students of middle school so they can go to high school 150 miles away for the next three years.
The expected cost for boarding school is around $2,500 per kid, per year, so $15,000 over the next three years. Yep, I need to make $150,000 blogging :).
Here is the money I have
10% of July’s income : $404
10% of August’s income: $253
10% of September’s income: $297
10% of October’s income: $357
10% of November’s income: $269
10% of December’s income: $462
10% of January’s income: $329
10% of February’s income: $634
10% of March’s income: $195 (because I donated $300 to Charity:Water)
10% of April’s income: $459
10% of May’s income: $697
10% of June’s income: $756
And $2,550 from reader donations + two old laptops. THANK YOU!
Thank you to each and every reader as well for helping me improve my stats and hence affiliate sales, Adsense revenue and blogging income in general. You rock!
So far, I have spent $4,066 explained in the last update, between supplies and uniforms for the new school year (January), boarding school tuition and buying a couple of laptops for my computer literacy project. I have $3,596 left.
Boarding school kids
I paid for April’s tuition at $478 a bit late as on April 1st the school still hadn’t provided me the receipts for March, which I paid at the end of February, and the field trip for the accounting students to Guatemala City, to visit the central bank and other institutions. I was annoyed honestly, mostly bothered because I hate not paying for something in due time but I knew that if I paid I would never see the receipts.
The kids have a sort of parents meeting where they get their grades for the first quarter of the year next week and invited me to go over, but it is a three hour drive, on a Thursday meaning I can’t even give them a ride back to the village for the weekend, and think the $50 worth of gas would do more good invested in the project. I still plan on visiting the school soon though, as it is on my way to Guatemala City where I will go soon. I did give $45 to the kid who didn’t go on her one day field trip as I offer her the money to pay for three trips back home instead of just spending a very expensive day at the beach and she made me proud by choosing to go back home instead.
Unless they grow up quickly and need new uniforms, I think they are all set with just tuition costs for the months to come. Well, I thought. I just had to give $32 to buy more arts and crafts supplies and $24 for bus rides to go to summer practice for the next six weeks.
Total with tuition and board from April to June: $1,535
Computer literacy project
At the moment, I have four laptops in use in the village. I didn’t want to give them to the school because they used to have computers, the computers broke, and now no one is fixing them. And I don’t want to have a teacher tell me what I can and can’t do, I want the kids to have fun learning, and if browsing the web for songs or chatting with their family who immigrated to the US is what will teach them how to type and browse, that’s fine by me.
Can you believe that the teachers actually give the middle school kids assignments to browse Google for things and do presentations when they don’t even know how to do a Google search? Teachers come from a nearby town and seem to have little grasp of reality sometimes.
So instead I gave the laptops to the girl who cleans my house, to set up a little internet café at her place, one block away from school. She is from Spain and comfortable around computers, so that is a big help. Our deal is that three half days a week, for four hours, she will teach any kid from school who wishes to come over how to use a computer, and since she has the computers at her place and pays for electricity, during the rest of the time, she is free to use them and rent them by the hour as an internet café.
She is well organized so she has divided the 12 hours a week into 12 groups and so far it has been a smashing hit, as 50 kids have enrolled! The word of mouth just took a few days and we started last week, with 4-6 kids per session. You wouldn’t imagine how the first session went, those kids had never been around a computer at age 10-14, and she had to teach them how to turn it on and off, then they played a little bit on Paint to learn how to use a mouse. They were all perfectly silent and in awe, like we were teaching them some kind of very powerful skill.
To ensure continuity, the kids each are assigned one hour per week, with the same teammates. Out of 50, I would say 40 or so are girls, which fits perfectly my goal to help girls first, as they get less opportunities overall to get an education. If the family doesn’t have money to send all kids to school, generally the males will go.
It was funny because they didn’t know what to expect when we started promoting the computer class, one hyperactive girl was sent to register by her mum who just was happy to have her out of the house for a change, and another one came in and asked if that was where the English class was held :). As a matter of fact, as I bought laptops in the US and was given some by readers, they do have the operating system in English so they’ll get to learn a little English as well!
The Spanish girl will keep teaching the kids three half days a week and I pay her salary at $25 per week. She shares a full time job with her boyfriend the handyman/gardener at my place, and while I need her more lately thanks to the Airbnb guests, she used to sell snacks on the side to construction workers but another lady took over so she can use the extra money. Plus her house is much closer to school than mine if I were to teach at my place, the kids would have to walk 15 minutes to get there. I hope she can make a little extra with the internet café as there is none in the village.
I also pay for internet connection, and expect April to come around $80 as I tried to buy a wifi router to share one wifi connection with all computers at once, but we don’t have a phone line and they were out of USB routers so I have to put a modem and pay for internet for each computer at the moment. Total budget for April $192. It went a bit lower in Mayas I bought the $100 wifi modem, and in June the kids were on break so allowed to download more data (they love music clips), which was more expensive.
Total from April to June: $716
Note: I have been offered by the gentlemen who will dig our well next month and live in Ohio that I could send laptops to their house and they would bring them over to Guatemala so if you have an old laptop that could use a nice retirement under the Guatemalan sun, please let me know, it would be fantastic to have more laptops and grow the project.
Book reading project
Around here, nobody reads. In Guatemala in general, it is hard to come across someone reading a book. I grew up reading book after book and believe it is a great way to learn, dream and grow. So I bought a few books for the kids. Nothing heavy. Comic books, fairy tales with big pictures and few words, to give them the taste to read. The girl that gives computer classes told me she often lent small books to 10-12 year olds and was appalled they read so slowly and didn’t catch half of the story. So I thought let’s start with something they would enjoy reading for the ease of it and the colorful pictures. Spiderman, Superman, Disney’s characters… As books are overpriced here ($20 and up for a children book!), so to give it a try I bought some used ones for $1-$5. I even found a children financial education book from the bank of Guatemala! Every week when they go to computer class, they leave with a book and bring it back the next week. It was a hit! Some had already read them all, so when a friend gave me $300 to buy more books, I got some nice new ones, mostly comics from Tintin and Astérix, who are so popular in France. They have a huge interest in learning English so I might try to find some basic English reading books next time.
Total from April to June: $340
I have $1,305 left. Once again, thank you for supporting my blogs and making this possible!
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“They were all perfectly silent and in awe…” Isn’t it interesting how a computer can focus a person’s attention? That internet cafe sounds like it’s a big hit. It may end up being life-changing for some of those kids. Well done!
It was really amazing, I felt like I was a sorcerer about to make it rain. I do hope they learn enough to get a decent paying job down the road, but at the moment we are only providing one hour a week per kid which is not a lot.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
This is such an awesome project and an incredible example of how one person can make a huge difference. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you Stefanie! Guatemala is very low cost so even a few dollars really go a long way.
You are an amazing person Pauline. Good job!
Thank you! It is nice to be able to help locally.
Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank says
This is an absolutely amazing project! I’m impressed.. You are an unbelievable person, Pauline! 🙂
Thank you Alicia!
Anne @ Money Propeller says
I absolutely love these updates! It is mind-blowing to me that a ten year old would never have turned on a computer! That is absolutely a life skill that those kids will need as they get older, way to go, starting the program.
That is so disappointing that books cost so much! New ones are sort of expensive here, I often buy them for baby shower presents, but you can still get three or four at the grocery store for $20.
There aren’t many publishing houses around here so I guess most books in Spanish have to be imported from Spain, hence the price. Then I imagine the rare people buying books just get rid of them instead of taking them to a second hand bookstore, the options there were pretty appalling as well. Next time I go to Europe I may try to bring back used Spanish books instead.
I really love reading the updates on the Guatemalan project and how you are reaching out to help the community in which you live. Hopefully I will get a chance to see all the work you are doing soon. Great job.
Thank you Lynx, let me know if you are coming to Guatemala!
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
That’s amazing Pauline! I really admire what you are doing and hope you have continued success.
Thanks a lot Tonya! It has been a fun project so far.
The internet cafe is a great idea. I’m sure it will also help spark their entrepreneurial spirit. What a great idea Pauline!
I hope it does. I still need to find a way to prevent heavy data usage as we only have USB modems, not landlines, so the price per gigabyte is very high, and internet cafes rent computers for under $1 per hour, which is less than the data usage price if you download movies.
I love when people are so generous and philanthropic. You are a role model to plenty and show how generosity goes a long way!
Thank you Alexis! In Guatemala you can do a lot with limited funds.
What you are doing is awesome!
Sort of unrelated but..does the humor in Asterix the Gaul translate well into Spanish? I guess it must since you have several different volumes.
It is pretty good actually! They managed to adapt the names and stories quite well. It was an idea of the friend who donated the $300 for books, as aside from Batman and Superman comics I didn’t find many illustrated stories, and we were remembering how easy and entertaining it was to read those comics when we were kids. I was surprised to find them in a bookstore of Guatemala City and the kids have been loving it so far. I am hoping to diversify more, probably if I go to Miami again in September or back to Europe I can get some Spanish books.
Pauline, just love reading your blog when I get a chance. I love to hear about your “little house in guatemala”. Enjoyed your great account of raising chickens in particular! It is great to hear how you are helping kids with their education, particularly girls.
The books/reading program is a great new addition to all the wonderful things you have helped with. Last year I had the opportunity to volunteer with an after-school reading program in Nicaragua where the books were provided by “Libros Para Ninos”, and the teacher was paid for by a local spanish school/hotel. (www.mariposaspanishschool.com). It was so great to see kids run in after school, grab a book and sit down and start reading aloud!
Wondering if there are any similar orgnizations that may be able to provide you with some more books? I checked Libros Para Ninos and they are soley based in Nicaragua, but found a couple others below that may be worth asking for books. La Mariposa asked it’s students coming from abroad to bring any kids books in spanish with them to donate. I was able to get stacks of them rather inexpensively through ebay – maybe something AirBnB guests would be interested in bringing along without much cost.
Anyway, all the best with your numerous projects, and I do aspire some day to live the life that you are!
Thanks a lot for the tip Lisa! I wrote to Child Aid and hopefully we can work something out together. They work at another lake which is over 8 hour drive from here but maybe they will agree to give me a hand with my project too!
Hey Lisa, I just wanted to say thanks again, I didn’t get luck with the link you sent but it encouraged me to knock on more doors and I am going to pick up 300 books on Monday from a non profit :). That is awesome, and thanks to you!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
How wonderful! Your work is inspiring!
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
Your continued support of those kids and the community is amazing! Always love reading these updates and hearing how the kids are doing. So sad that books aren’t readily available. Reading was my favorite summertime activity when I was a kid on summer vacation.
Thank you for sharing your journey and your story about what you are doing for these kids, Pauline. God Bless you!