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Typical Street in the Guatemalan Barrio

Typical Guatemalan homes in Barrio San Antonio.
Typical Guatemalan homes in Barrio San Antonio.
Typical Guatemalan homes in Barrio San Antonio.
Typical Guatemalan homes in Barrio San Antonio.

IMA is an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child.

 

 Home Life
 Education
 Health Care
 Nutrition
 Sponsor a Child
 

 


Home Life

IMA's students live in some of the most impoverished areas in and around the capital, Guatemala City. Each student qualifies for attendance at IMA based on a detailed socio-economic study of their circumstances. The majority of IMA's girls live in mixed family households where any number of family members or even multiple families reside. While actual home conditions vary greatly across alumni, homes typically have no running water, no man-made flooring, or good shelter from the elements.

Usually each member of these families is occupied in some form of work from an early age, many helping their parents in their occupations. Finding girls cooking tortillas, selling vegetables at local markets, or sewing textile goods as early as seven years old is not hard to do. Most of IMA students' parents have little or no education and are unable to find even modest paying jobs. Sadly, this level of income places constant emotional and psychological pressure on family units and causes them to disintegrate. Many students no longer live with even their immediate parents as they have left at one time or another.

Alcoholism is also rampant among the poor in Guatemala, which leads to violence and further difficulty in rising above an already low economic situation. In educating both students and their parents, IMA hopes to show that a better way of life is possible. It is a constant battle and diligence is required to keep parents supportive and engaged in their girls' education.

Parents are required to attend seminars and perform community service at the school throughout the course of the year. This involvement with IMA helps to bring them into the process of educating their daughters and has a tangential effect on the family. Staff are always available to help families in severe need by locating employment, medical help, and even food and clothing. It is critical that IMA's girls feel they have the full support of the organization behind their continued success.
 

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Education

Academic standards are rigorous. Each student must complete and pass the Guatemalan State test for each grade level before matriculation, and the curriculum adheres to standards of math, science, history, Spanish, comprehension and composition.  IMA is also an ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) accredited school, as many of the top Christian schools in the US are. What sets IMA apart from its public school peers are courses in English, computer training, and arts and music. 


The educational standards set forth by IMA are far more demanding than its public school counterparts. This has been manifest in the inability for transfer students to integrate when coming from public schools; they have not been prepared and are unable to sustain the minimum standards of achievement IMA demands. IMA stopped allowing transfer students past the third grade when it became apparent they were failing at universal rates. 


Upon completion of sixth grade (the current national standard), students participate in a graduation ceremony and receive their diplomas. Further studies are strongly encouraged for each student as a continuation of their education.

IMA provides the same level of education through ninth grade for all students whose families are willing to participate. Alumni who continue on past this point then must choose to specialize in a specific career path or continue on in general education work in preparation for college. Surprisingly, most young professionals who take jobs as teachers, secretaries or other medium income professions require only a twelfth grade education to be certified.

Many of IMA's students have also participated in weekly baking classes, which annually certifies them in specific methods of baking. This allows them to seek employment with local patisseries and provides a means for generating a small income in what they sell. What they learn in purchasing, making, and selling their produce teaches them money management and budgeting which is invaluable for the future. It is IMA's regular stream of volunteers, however, that really provide its girls with eye-opening educational opportunities. Many visitors provide various short courses throughout the year in sewing, arts, science, computer, and biblical studies. In exposing students to such a wide variety of skills, IMA hopes to instill a passion in each of its girls to which they can strive.
 

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Health Care

IMA recognizes the need to ensure proper health among its students and offers essential health care to each. It is a center for family health services, reproductive health and training, and provides each of its students with nutritious meals.  IMA staffs personnel who can provide simple help when needed, but also brings in medical professionals such as pediatricians, optometrists, and dentists to provide care for IMA girls.

While IMA’s staff are able to treat many ailments with what we consider common drugs that would normally be unavailable to the students, IMA's intimate knowledge of each of the girls, their medical histories, eating habits, and their family lives allow them to recognize symptoms that point to more worrying illnesses such as infection, anemia, or malnutrition. In such an un-educated population, it is all too common for problems to persist without appropriate treatment or acknowledgement of the severity of the sickness. At school, teachers and helpers report health concerns directly to school administration so that problems can be treated immediately and appropriately.
 

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Nutrition

IMA's girls are provided a single well-balanced meal and a late afternoon snack each day by its staff of cooks and helpers. Many students suffer from vitamin deficiency and undernourishment. A typical student's diet includes family-affordable black beans and corn tortillas. This diet alone doesn't provide the nutrients necessary to sustain healthy growth or strong bones. Meals provided by the school offer optimal nutrition which isn't possible at home and are supplemented by vitamins and regular health check-ups. IMA's kitchen can be found stocked with seasonable fruits and vegetables of many kinds, from ripe mangos to huge papayas. These are both treats for the girls and an important source of vitamins and minerals.

It is the consistency and healthy selection that make meal times important at IMA. The girls know they will be cared for each day and never need worry where they will get their next meal. IMA's responsibility to feed its girls is an essential part of the mission to provide not only education, but a better chance at life in every way. Remarkably, much of the food for IMA's program comes from donations given by local suppliers.
 

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Sponsor a Child Today

IMA is supported by people just like you.  Learn more about sponsoring an IMA student and make a difference in a child's life starting today.

Learn more here...

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