Providing a Poor Guatemalan Town with Access to the World

Published on September 14, 2015

sf semillas computer class Sept chocola 2015 092

Remember the first time you experienced the Internet?

At RIESTER, we have always been inspired by the work of Seeds for a Future, a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the lives of the people in Chocola, Guatemala. Run by our friends Earl and Suzanne de Berge of Phoenix, the organization is helping to create sustainable opportunities in a region where most people only have five or six years of education.

This past week, we were thrilled to see that a decision we made three years ago is helping Seeds for a Future further its mission. In 2012, our RIESTER Foundation Board suggested that we donate 10 computers and monitors to Seeds for a Future. For years, the Foundation has worked with Seeds for a Future to fund reforestation and economic sustainability through the transition from coffee to cacao production — a much more profitable endeavor for this region. With the computers and monitors, we were suddenly able to plant the seeds for a better education.

sf Sept nutrition class in Santo Tomas la Union 2015 031After arriving in Guatemala, the computers were delivered to the local Chocola library. There, they were set up with operating systems and software necessary to access a Spanish-language digital library. Spanish-language keyboards were installed. Computer furniture was built. Staff were trained. And now, the town of Chocola has a public computer lab, and for the first time, access to the Internet.

In addition to opening up a whole new world for children, the computers have created learning opportunities for adults with limited literacy through access to audio-visual tools that offer practical training in such areas as family health and income-producing activities.  They are learning how to improve their lives, diets, health care, typing and gardening – including essential information about growing and harvesting cacao.

sf young girl in chocola computer class.Sept 2015 084The word from Chocola is that there is a great enthusiasm and joy at being able to learn how to use a computer. Classes are held regularly and a teacher is available whenever needed to help people advance their learning.

“I know it took a while for us to reach the classroom level and have a secure location for the computers,” said Earl de Berge, but here we are and many dozens of people, including Suzanne and I… thank RIESTER from the bottoms of our hearts.”

And we thank Earl and Suzanne for their incredible commitment to people in need.