Quick facts about Casa Central:
- Grade-levels served: First – twelfth
- Facility description: A very large, two-story facility that consists of classrooms, courtyards and a dining room.
- Curriculum: Students receive instruction in core academic subjects. The school also offers skills training in such areas as cooking, sewing, embroidery and other trades.
- Academic schedule: Typically begins in mid-January and ends in late October. Students enjoy summer break during the months of November through mid-January and a two-week winter break in June.
- Nutrition: Children who live close enough receive a nutritional lunch each day.
- Medical care: Students’ health is closely monitored, and free medical care is provided as needed.
Located just southeast of Mexico, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America. Its spectacular mountains boast a wealth of natural resources and stunning biodiversity. For centuries, this land served as the core territory of the Mayan civilization.
Following two centuries of Spanish colonization, Guatemala gained its independence in the early nineteenth century, only to endure another 150 years of political instability and civil unrest. Additionally, this area is prone to devastating natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes which cause mudslides and flooding. Despite recent economic growth and successful democratic elections, Guatemala still struggles with widespread poverty, illiteracy, crime and high rates of unemployment and underemployment.
Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, is no exception to these maladies. Here, in one of the city’s slum neighborhoods, the Casa Central School serves as a beacon of hope. Founded in the mid-nineteenth century and run by the gracious nuns of the Sisters of Charity, Casa Central has a long and honorable history of ministering to the children here, offering them a place of refuge from the instability and crime that pervade this neighborhood. Through education, students enrolled at Casa Central are given the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances into which they were born.
Quick Facts about GUATEMALA:
- Population: 17,245,346 (2018 est.)
- Languages Spoken: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages include Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna and Xinca)
- Unemployment Rate: 8% (2018 est.), with high underemployment
- Poverty Rate: 3% (2017 est.)