Vocational Training + skill
Advocacy + awareness
We have been a driving force in education throughout Central and South America for over 25 years and have impacted over 3 million students. Through Biblical values-based classroom training, vocational workshops and outreach into the surrounding communities, Hearts in Action hopes to activate people to live to their true potential.
Since 1999, The Jungle School has a thriving elementary, secondary, and vocational school for children in the San Andres community in the Peten, Guatemala. Our vision for the Jungle School is to create a university that trains locals in the skills they need to create micro enterprises and work in meaningful positions in their local community, or even abroad. We also want to hire more local teachers, train more Pre K-12 students and expand our programs to provide a wider scope of educational content that leaves no child or adult left behind. We also plan to grow our Ministry efforts, train more Christian leaders and provide educational opportunities for all who want to learn more about their Creator.
For almost 20 years, the Jungle School has educated children in the Peten Jungle by utilizing a values based approach that focuses on the environment, the Creator and integrated development. The effectiveness of this approach, coupled with organizing and empowering parents in the local community, has led to hundreds of graduates that are able to give back to their community and find local jobs where they can use the skills they learn.
Edgar’s father and older brother were killed when he was a young boy, and had never studied untill age 11 when we asked if he would like to join The Jungle School. Edgar has so much fun learning and having friends to play soccer with during recess. His teacher says he learns quickly and is excelling in his studies.
His family says he comes home to do his homework quickly and then changes to get his farm work done. He wakes up early to milk the cows before coming to school. They are very proud of him and grateful to us for the oppurtunity to do both education and farm life.
He hopes to be a soldier someday to protect the people in his country.
I live with my grandmother and younger brother in a village called Ixhuacut. We have an outhouse. I don´t know my father and my mother left when I was a toddler. I cook and clean for my grandmother and younger brother. My grandmother has Alzheimer´s now so I have to help her a lot. We have pet dogs and hens.
My favorite colors are red and fuchsia. I like coming to The Jungle School because it is a very nice school and we learn about God here. I have been here since kindergarten and I hope to graduate from here as well! I like to draw and hope to be a fashion designer someday and also sew clothing to sell.
I live with my mother in a town called Nuevo San Josè. I help at home by gathering firewood for my mom and cleaning around the house. I love coming to The Jungle School and playing in the school band and love to learn to play instruments. I am already 18 years old, but I want to continue studying and graduate so that I can hopefully get a good job and support my mother since my father is not part of the picture.
When I was younger she would do her best to put me in school so I could learn to read and write, but then would have to take me out so that she could take me with her wherever she could get work. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to study at The Jungle School!
My favorite subject is English. I love studying at The Jungle School and am so grateful to have the opportunity to study here. This is where I learned about God and met Jesus. I used to wake up while it was still dark and make my way through the jungle to get to The Jungle School. Many people told me I was crazy for doing everything I did to be able to go to school, but today I realized it was all worth it! I am graduating from The Jungle School this year and already have a job offer! I look forward to the opportunity to help support my family now and help my younger siblings have the opportunity to come to The Jungle School as well. Also, now I get to go to church and I want to help youth know how much God loves them and work with youth like Hearts In Action and my sponsors did for me!
Currently, HIA serves nine rural villages. These communities dedicate to agriculture and they are economically deprived. Many of the inhabitants are resettled from other parts of Guatemala or refugees who relocated after fleeing during the violent Guatemalan civil war. They were placed in the region under direction of the Guatemalan government, who provided each family with just 5 pounds of beans and rice and a shovel to restart their lives. These families still have no access to basic services like running water, electricity or waste disposal.
Many families live in huts with mud floors that offer no protection from bacteria or flooding, making health issues a major concern.
Due to the geographic isolation, this population has few educational or job opportunities and as a result, a large majority of the inhabitants migrate illegally to the United States or to Guatemala City to make a life for themselves, leading to broken families and a higher crime index.
The poverty rate, lack of employment and low educational attainment contribute to their poor quality of life. Unable to read or write, parents depend on their children’s education to sign documents, make change at the store and receive any HIA provided services.
We believe that a strong values based education, community outreach programs and development trainings are the answer to sustainable development in our community. We have seen hundreds of students graduate and find jobs, and are seeing a decrease in the amount of youths that leave the region for work.
Through education, job creation and an emphasis on working hand in hand with our community to problem-solve, we are creating a brighter future that provides real world solutions for our children, their families and the greater Peten region.
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