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Computer Center for Junior High

The small town of Uspantan, located in the highlands of Guatemala, had 425 students in their junior high but they only had two classrooms. In an effort to provide some degree of education to all, the students were taught in shifts. Each student received two hours of classes a day and then returned home to make room for other students to attend class. Uspantan desperately needed at least five more classrooms.

Uspantan's mayor, Victor Hugo Figurroa, was familiar with United by Friendship (UbF). He wrote to Deborah Simon, president of UbF, requesting assistance with the construction of one of the five needed classrooms. Each classroom would cost approximately $12,000. UbF committed to the construction of the classroom that was designed to be a computer lab and the board of UbF quickly went to work raising the needed funds.

On April 26, 2007, morning dawned crisp and clear in Uspantan, Guatemala. The eight dedicated United by Friendship and Rotary volunteers, who had arrived at this mountain town the evening before, began their day at the town's community center. The Mayor requested that the volunteers follow him, single file, from the community center to the junior high school. As they neared the school, the volunteers could hear festive music. Upon entering the school grounds 450 students in uniforms lined both sides of the pathway and clapped as the team walked the gauntlet to their appointed seats. It was time for the inauguration of the new computer lab financed by UbF. The celebration began with the faculty and students singing the beautiful Guatemalan national anthem. This was followed by speeches, entertainment by the students and a lunch of pepian chicken. The UbF volunteers were honored with small gifts of appreciation.

The people gathered around the new computer lab as the Mayor and Deborah cut the ribbon. It was an exciting and joyful day because the students understood that the computer lab will expand their educational opportunities.

In recognition of the efforts of United by Friendship, Peace Cereal makers, who had provided a $5000 grant toward this project, featured UbF on its Mango Passion cereal box.



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