January 15, 2019
That’s the main thing we want to say. It has been PEG’s biggest year yet, by almost any metric, and that’s because you are taking the time to see the work we are doing in Guatemala, and choosing to support it.
This year, PEG will celebrate 15 years since its founding (our quiceañera!), and the organization is growing to a new level. Big things are happening in Guatemala. Below are a couple of updates on programs, a bit of news about exciting new partnerships, some information about new ways to support PEG, and an invitation for you to come to Guatemala with us and see the impact for yourself!
Back in 2008, two young men, Jason Haney and Eric Keen, rode across Canada on an unsupported ride to raise money for PEG’s work in Guatemala. They raised a great deal of money, had a big adventure, and had a massive impact on the construction of a school in Chacayá, on Lago Atitlán, which PEG still works with.
Flash forward a decade, and Jason is an associate at Cornerstone Research in Menlo Park, California. This past year, Jason challenged his colleagues in a fundraising activity that was then matched by Cornerstone, totaling almost $6,000.
Meanwhile in Guatemala… Brillaguate began in El Tejar in 2016, serving 7 young women who were extremely vulnerable, due to their financial and family situations. The program, run by two local women, Sara Morales and Aracely Cano, provides mentorship and educational support for teen girls, and the impact has been extraordinary. This past year, two of the girls were at the very top of their classes, and two others graduated high school with a focus on elementary education. In 2019, the program will expand to serve 12 young women, thanks to Jason’s support of this beautiful community.
El Tejar Music Program
LEAF International and PEG have now been partnering with Child Aid for over a decade to support a music program in El Tejar. Five years ago, LEAF asked the music program to dream big and come up with a vision of what would they like to accomplish by 2020 to grow the music program and make it the best it can be. We were all impressed by the well-prepared proposal we received, with the goal of creating an accredited 3-year music program. In 2018, the music program completed its first 3-year cycle of students and each graduate received a certificate.
In November, the music program students taught summer school for students in the community who were interested in classes but who hadn’t had the opportunity to join the program during the school year.
In December, the music program took the students to Chacayá, about 3.5 hours from El Tejar, for a musical exchange with another school where PEG supports an arts program (remember Chacayá? Yep, this is the same school that Eric and Jason rode across Canada to support!). It is beautiful to see students from different PEG programs in different towns inspire and teach each other.
Want to Come See For Yourself?
PEG has now led several trips for college and church groups who want to experience and learn about Guatemala. These trips are rooted in relationships, and cross-cultural engagement, though there is also a service component. If you would like to learn more, visit pegpartners.org/grouptrips
We are also announcing another open trip to Guatemala this summer. If you would like to come and see the work our partners are doing with PEG’s support, come join us! Individuals, friends, partners, and families are all welcome to apply. Our upcoming trip dates are June 16-25, 2019. To learn more about what we will do, check out
After talking with co-workers about where everyone was going on their summer vacation, trip participant Julie Liptak wrote, she was having a hard time explaining why she was going to Guatemala. Then she went, and had this to say:
Particularly impressive to me was the depth of commitment so many people felt to exploring and learning and opening their hearts to this country and the week long experience upon which we were embarking. Somehow, at my core I knew that Guatemala was a perfect place for my vacation for just this reason…. my heart had pulled me there to be born in a new way.
Partner with PEG and with Guatemala
2018 was PEG’s biggest fundraising year in the fourteen years that we have existed. We worked hard on getting the word out about the work we are doing, and even had Chonita Pablo Lacán, a teacher at the Escuela David LaMotte in Tzanchaj come to North Carolina for a visit (no, we didn’t choose the name, but David is deeply honored!).
That school has now moved. The land for the school was on a free lease that ran for twelve years, but is now up. With your support, we have already bought land, and we are hard at work on ways to build the new school, including exploring the possibility of partnering with Rotary International.
We treasure small donations, and love being a part of a large group of people who are doing a little each, in order to do big things together. If you want to support this work, thank you! We are also grateful to people and organizations who have the resources to commit to larger donations, and we like to be able to tell people exactly what they are paying for. Here are some possibilities for annual donations that have the capacity for far-reaching impact:
Melchora Rujuch has been with the David LaMotte School for 7 years and has been serving as the director for the past 2 years. She is a strong, dependable leader who has sacrificed for and served the community of Tzanchaj in order to improve the lives of the school children she works with. $5000 pays her annual salary for serving as the director of the school, and also teaching some classes.
- Maria Esquina has been teaching with us for three years, and is currently studying English in Santiago. Her salary is also $5000.
- Joél Damian Esquina has been volunteering with the David LaMotte school and now we’ve hired him to teach! His annual salary, as a junior teacher with fewer responsibilities, is $3000.
- In collaboration with the public school nearby, the students at the David LaMotte school are receiving computer and music classes once a week. This is an extraordinary opportunity, as few schools are able to provide music or computer classes in Guatemala. $1000 covers this cost for an entire year.
Imagine providing a teacher for a whole classroom of children for a year for $5000, or access to computer training and music instruction for a whole year for $1000!
If you know of a church, civic organization, a group of friends who might want to commit to supporting these life changing programs at that level, please get in touch for more details. You could be the one to make a huge difference in children’s lives.
One of the ways PEG Partners got its name is that a ‘peg’ on a guitar is how you tune the string. If you’ve ever turned one, you know that the tiniest motion can have a big effect on the sound.
That’s like the work we do with PEG Partners. Our annual budget is tiny, compared to many non-profits, but lives are being changed because of the ways people are reaching out to each other and caring for this next generation of Guatemalan kids. And, like nearly all work of lasting impact, we can only do it together.
In the language of Tz’utujil, the primary language of Tzanchaj…
Founder & President
We will leave you with a few pictures of ongoing construction, and the temporary classrooms in Tzanchaj, including new doors, windows, walls, and toilets. Onward together…