Monday, October 1, 2018
Tierra Linda: A Land of New Opportunity
Written by Emma Pion-Berlin, Content Creator
(Students from the Tierra Linda Middle School use their new laptops that were donated by the Upper Arlington Rotary Club.)
Tierra Linda is a small, rural community perched between stunning, mountain terrain. The destination is an hour up the road from Panajachel, then down a narrow, steep road to reach the remote village. Tierra Linda translates into English as beautiful land, and this pueblo embodies precisely that. The community encompasses a close-knit population of about 1000 people living in the highlands that often speak Spanish, Kaqchikel and other native dialects.
The village members live in small homes mostly made of adobe brick that are connected by dirt roads and footpaths. Resources are limited in this isolated community as there are no medical clinics or dentists nearby.
Mayan Families first started working in Tierra Linda after Hurricane Stan in 2005. Following the terrible damage this natural disaster caused, Mayan Families was asked by community members to improve conditions in the local elementary school and then to build a preschool. Generous donations allowed us to establish the Tierra Linda preschool in 2008 and the middle school in 2011.
At our preschool, we currently have 60 students attending and 21 new students that began in 2018. These enrollment numbers are a great accomplishment considering how isolated Tierra Linda is and a testament to the need for the school. However, there are still many students at the Tierra Linda Preschool in need of sponsors.
Sponsorship is beneficial to our students as it opens many doors for them to have a successful journey in education. Richard Faith, a dedicated supporter, sponsors three children and believes sponsorship is positively impactful for students.
“Our involvement with Mayan Families touched me deeply, and I found myself with this insatiable desire to help and become more involved in supporting students to achieve their goals,” Faith said.
As students enter into higher levels of education, more support and resources are needed. In Guatemala, middle school computer education is mandatory. However, many schools in the country’s rural communities do not have the facilities or technology to provide computer classes. Unfortunately, Tierra Linda Middle School did not have access to computers for quite some time. In May 2018, the Upper Arlington Rotary Club (UARC) changed this. We are grateful for the UARC for generously donating ten laptops and a computer, providing the foundational tools necessary for the installation of computer classes in our middle school.
Ellie Wason, our Education Program Manager, said, “The Tierra Linda computing classes have had a great impact on the students, as many of them don't have a computer at home, so it is an invaluable chance for them to learn skills which will help their education and later in life.”
Having these resources will bring new opportunities for our students as they advance into a successful future.
Help support our students with a donation by clicking the link here.