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Our Mission

In the town of San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala, Open Windows has promoted self-sufficiency and the skills for future success by providing more than 4,000 children in the community with important educational services and programs. Each year we continue to serve nearly 1,000 children from the community and their families.

San Miguel Dueñas is an agricultural town of 12,000 people. For most families, sending their children to school presents significant financial difficulties. Although San Miguel Dueñas is a mere twenty minute drive from the prosperous tourist center of La Antigua, very few residents of the town benefit from its proximity. The town has a substantially lower standard of living, with most members of the community working in the local coffee plantations and flower nurseries. The average monthly income is less than $200 per month and many homes do not have electricity.

The level of education is very low, making the need to improve it a vital priority. In Guatemala, the literacy level is only 71%, with the average child completing only four and a half years of school.

The educational programs provided by Open Windows include:

  • helping children with homework

  • promoting reading and writing through lessons and a free library

  • enhancing math skills

  • teaching computer literacy

The daily afternoon activities are aligned with the curriculum of the public schools the children attend in the mornings. Additionally, a scholarship program enables young people to complete a high school education.

 
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"This organization is incredible. I worked as a volunteer at Open Windows in May and September of 2016. I got to witness the commitment and patience of each of the teachers towards the children. I got to organize my own classes, watch and help teachers lead activities, and do one-on-one tutoring with reading and math. The children all come to this library because they want to be there, they come walking and biking, and when they are there they really enjoy themselves. They love to learn."

— Anna B., Teaching Volunteer

 

While education is the main focus, Open Windows does a great deal of work in community development to improve local living conditions. This includes providing periodic dental and health screenings, building houses and installing ecostoves. (To learn more about our role in the community please go to our Community Programs pages.) Because many families are unable to provide their children with a balanced diet, Open Windows also gives a nutritious snack to each child every afternoon. Over the years, Open Windows Learning Center has become, and will continue to be, a vital part of the community with its educational and community development efforts.

Open Windows Foundation is a United States NGO 501(c)(3) non-profit that works year-round with the Guatemalan Board of Directors to raise money for the learning center. Supporters have come up with creative ways to help our mission, including selling jewelry made by Guatemalan artisans at special events in the USA.  Over the years the Guatemalan Directors have had New Year’s celebration parties with silent auctions. birthday parties with prizes, coffee sales, garage sales and bingo games, all to benefit Open Windows Learning Center and the people of San Miguel Dueñas. One US Board member raises funds with www.CharityPainting.com. He works as a house painter and donates the proceeds to the Open Windows Foundation.

The Foundation also receives donations from organizations and individuals. The donations keep the programs of Open Windows Foundation growing and helps us meet the challenges we face while changing the lives of the children in San Miguel Dueñas. All USA donations are tax deductible consistent with state and federal law.