Supporting sustainable economic development
and direct trade in Guatemala

Alana Leilani Secondary and Vocational School

Secondary education is a luxury in Guatemala.

With half of the population of San Miguel Escobar under the age of 15, and no formal education past the sixth grade, it was a no-brainer for As Green As It Gets to partner with the community to try to build a school. Land near the center of town was donated, funds were raised, volunteers were organized, and construction began in 2010.

THE NEED:

Currently, the community has a primary school, but no physical structure where students can continue their studies after the sixth grade. Many dedicated parents, however, have organized a system where classes take place in private homes, in the city's plaza, even on the side of the road. There are more than 200 students enrolled in this system who crack their books with cars zooming by.

THE STRUCTURE:

   
The school's roof features solar panels.   The architect's drawing of the finished school.   A completed view of the school.

As Green As It Gets teamed with Architects Without Borders to create the plans for the school. When completed, the school will be composed of:

  • 9 classrooms for 30-35 students each, approximately 300 students total
  • 1 open-air multipurpose room for school activities, community activities, and farmer’s market
  • 1 closed multipurpose room for school activities, community activities, that doubles as an overflow classroom
  • 1 combination teachers' office and mechanical room
  • 8 bathroom stalls
  • 1 kitchen
  • 8 vocation-technical classrooms/laboratory workspaces
  • 1 greenhouse suitable for 40,000 seedlings
  • 1 guard house
  • 1 office/warehouse complex for marketing products from the vocation-technical school
  • 1 kiln

Environmentally-friendly features

The As Green As It Gets school will strive to be as sustainable as possible, incorporating:

  • Rainwater catchment, storage, and filtration for use in the kitchen, bathrooms, and irrigation of the greenhouse.
  • Green roof over the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Dual use roof capable of solar drying of 4 tons of coffee
  • Permanent community greenspace
  • Locally built gabion boxes with pitaya cultivation.
  • Retaining wall foundations built with tal petate and lime (to reduce carbon footprint compared to cement)
  • Natural lighting to reduce electrical lighting
  • Solar powered LED’s and compact fluorescent lighting to reduce electrical needs
  • Integrated windows and vents to maintain a cool classroom with no power use.
  • Composting toilets                                                                          
  • Waterless urinals

Educational Goals

Upon completion of the school, teachers will be hired with support of a local accredited institution. We will maintain a teaching staff with advanced education degrees and specific skills relevant to the students' needs.  Our partners will be providing teaching assistants and training in topics such as creative thinking, critical thinking, and English.

The school is designed to foster skill sets that can lead directly to employment or business opportunities.  In addition to an educational space, the laboratory will function as a workspace where graduates can design, create and manufacture their own products.  Coffee, peanut butter, soap, lip balm and shampoo are businesses that have already taken off and will continue to grow with a dedicated workspace.  Also included in the plans are space for teaching and production for more complicated products such as activated carbon and vegetable glycerin. 

Agroforesty holds much potential in San Miguel and the school will support many facets of agroforesty.  It will train students in nursery skills, seed and vegetative propagation, cultivation, introduction of new crops, and new uses for old crops.  Within this context, the school will produce approximately 40,000 seedlings a year for use by the community, as well as agricultural products including organic fertilizer, organic fungicides, and organic foliar sprays.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the school fund, click here.

To check out photos of the project, click here.

Volunteer! We welcome volunteer construction workers throughout the year. We specifically need volunteer civil engineers, electrical engineers, and technical folks to help with some design details. In the near future we’ll also need electricians, plumbers, and people who are generally good with their hands. If you'd like to get involved, write to info@asgreenasitgets.org