Located on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize is a nation rich in culture and Mayan ruins. But, in regards to education, only 45 percent of youth attend school beyond the primary level.
A lack of secondary education is a concern for Lisa Williams, who serves as a volunteer coordinator for the Belize/Honduras District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas.
She states, "There was a time when Belize had a very high literacy rate as compared to surrounding countries. When Belize became an independent nation in 1981 there was a lack of priority in the new government in regards to secondary school. The country grew and the building of new schools did not keep up, in particular the schools for secondary education."
But, thanks to last year's UMC #Giving Tuesday donations made through The Advance to the Belmopan Methodist High School, Advance #3021922, a new high school providing secondary education will soon be completed in Belmopan, the capital city of Belize. The construction of the school will impact approximately 380 children, 20 teachers, including community vendors who market their food items near the school.
The generous Giving Tuesday donations were used to purchase construction materials and to hire locals, thus providing jobs to area residents who worked alongside dedicated United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) in the school construction project.
In a letter of gratitude to Global Ministries, Bishop Roosvelt Papouloute, chairman of the board of Belmopan Methodist High School, stated, "Your commitment is a clear demonstration of God's love through you to the young men and women of Belize who are already attending the school, and to the many generations to come."
Nelson Amador, a student of Belmopan Methodist High School, is one example of the many students impacted by UMC #Giving Tuesday donations:
"I was raised in an economically poor family, but perhaps rich in desires for educational development. My parents came to Belize from Guatemala looking for better opportunities and my mom desired for us [the family] to learn English. They got nationalized as Belizeans and worked on our education. When I finished primary school in 2009, even though I wanted to, I couldn't make it to high school because my parents could not afford it. But, on my last job, I met Mrs. Rose Binfield who promised to sponsor my education. Later, I was accepted at the Belmopan Methodist High School. I am so thankful to God for this school and for everyone that has made this opportunity possible for me."
The school is expected to be in full operation by fall 2016 as one half of the L-shaped complex is currently completed.
Adapted, Judith Santiago, Content and Editorial Coordinator, Global Ministries.
The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver.