Poverty

Guatemala is a country where 80% of the population is living on $3/day or less. [1]  Consequently our students come from families that are deeply impacted by poverty.  As part of their education, our students have the opportunity to learn skilled trades such as carpentry, industrial electronics and computer repair.  With the technical skills, education and experiences our students gain by studying with us, our students can find jobs that will lift their families out of poverty, while supporting their further studies at the university-level simultaneously.

Despite the fact that most Guatemalans live below the poverty line, Guatemala is not a poor country.  It has the highest GDP in all of Central America; however, Guatemala also has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world.  The richest 10% of Guatemalans hold half of the wealth in the country whereas the poorest 10% own less than 1% of the wealth.  More dramatically, in a country where 60% of the population depends on agricultural farming for survivial,  just 2% of the population controls 70% of all arable farm land. [2]  For Guatemalans with limited resources it is difficult to attend school, find a job, and maintain hope about the future. The end result is cynicism and cycles of poverty and violence that rob Guatemalans of their dignity and human rights.  The Asturias Academy is committed to creating a more equal Guatemala by empowering the next generation of socially-conscious, knowledgable citizens and leaders.

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[1] Encuesta Nacional de Ingresos y Gastos Familiares. Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE. 1998-1999
[2] Viscidi, L. (2004). “A History of Land in Guatemala: Conflict and Hope for Reform.” Americas Program. Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center. September 17, 2004.