In 2015, Fr. Miguel Angel Alvizures Muralles visited several rural communities in his native Guatemala. In El Sacabastal, Buena Vista, and Marillanos he saw that many of the children did not have access to even primary education. High school and college level education were virtually unavailable. Because most families in these communities are poor, their children also suffer from malnutrition. Other children live in homes that have begun to disintegrate, with their parents having emigrated to the United States. Many are forced to work in agriculture from a very young age, and so cannot attend school even when classes are available. This becomes a vicious cycle when lack of education contributes to generational poverty.
Fr. Miguel discussed this situation with his American friend Forrest Day in 2016. Together they dreamed of creating a non-profit organization that would fund a school in rural Guatemala where children could receive a comprehensive education. In addition, taking into consideration the level of poverty of the majority of the families that would be served by the school, Fr. Miguel and Mr. Day wanted to provide the students with two meals each day. Their desire was to build a facility that would provide a healthy physical and mental environment for the children.
2017 marked the implementation of this ambitious project. A location was needed that would be convenient for children from all the communities visited by Fr. Miguel. The team decided to locate the school in the village of Joya Honda due to its central location. Two buildings were rented in Joya Honda, one for a study center and one to house the English teacher who would come from the United States. The Guatemalan Educational Outreach (GEO) committee was formed, its purpose being to raise the funds necessary to cover the project’s expenses. The committee immediately began fund-raising, mostly in the United States.
Opening the school required negotiations with the Ministry of Education. In 2018, authorization was given for the pre-primary level and The Little Mountain School opened its doors. In the first year the school served pre-primary children of 5 and 6 years old with classes in both English and Spanish.
The work had only begun! In 2019, we added a first-grade class and built a facility to house the school. The new school building contains three classrooms, two girls' toilets and two boys' toilets. In 2020, donations enabled the school to add a second-grade class, build another classroom, and install recreational facilities for the children. The Covid-19 pandemic presented new challenges, but the faculty and staff were committed to serving the students and their families. The school made curriculum packets and food bundles available, and instruction continued online as much as possible. Currently, it is the summer of 2021 and we are eagerly awaiting the end of the pandemic and permission to reopen the doors of the school for in person instruction.
It is the hope of everyone involved with The Little Mountain School that each year we will be able to add a new class that will serve our current students as they progress. We depend solely on the collaboration and generosity of our donors to continue and expand our reach. It is our mission to train children and young people to positively influence their society as they grow into adulthood. We invite you to join us in this vital work.
We are a non-profit educational institution that promotes the integral development of children and young people, providing them with an academic, intellectual, physical and emotional education, taking into account their family, social and cultural environment.
To be an educational community of excellent academic standards, working toward the integral development and training of students, employing professionals committed to ethical and moral principles, producing young people who are competent and capable of positively influencing their society.
Love, respect, acceptance, collaboration, equality, solidarity, punctuality, responsibility, honesty, happiness, integrity, gratitude