As a former Director of Development, Monitoring & Evaluation for Thirteen Threads in Panajachel, Guatemala, I can attest to the professionalism and honesty with which Computers for Guatemala and Don and Kirk, conduct their organization. As a non-profit that provides education and empowerment to indigenous Maya women in 20 rural communities, Thirteen Threads is incredibly grateful to CFG for giving us the chance to work according to best practice standards. Researching and creating community education curricula for over 400 women is not an easy task for the Field Supervisor and Community Facilitators, and without computers, (and ones that work!) we would not be able to do our jobs well. Likewise, the organization recently enhanced its monitoring and evaluation program and the computers allow for us to enter and analyze data in meaningful ways so that we can be accountable to the indigenous Maya women members of the organization, ourselves, and our funders. Thank you Don and crew for helping us maintain a transparent, professional organization. Anyone who knows what it's like to work for a non-profit in a developing country (or any non-profit for that matter!), knows the value of partnering with organizations like Computers for Guatemala. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
"Vida y Esperanza", "School of Life and Hope", is a christian school that helps the children of various communities in the area of Sacatepequez, Guatemala, to be able to attend a private school without having to pay full tuittion and receive high quality education. The school's computer lab used to have 10 working computers. After the school purchased the computers from your organization, the school was able to provide personalized computer classes to more than 300 students. The biggest change that I could see was that before we had three students per computer, and it was very difficult to teach them that way. Also, sometimes, one of the three would be left out as I was teaching, because of space in the desk and time wise. This year, after we purchased the computers, it was a lot easier, due to the number of computers. In my biggest class, which holds 39 students, I used to rotate them, so they would all be able to type and work in the same class period. I felt less stressed and I was able to cover more content with all the computers that we had this year.
I run a nonprofit in Nebaj, Guatemala, called Embrace Guatemala. The past three years we've ordered about 60 computers from Computers for Guatemala for two grade schools, two junior highs, two neighborhood community centers, and another nonprofit. We buy their high-end computers, which cost about $130 and come with a flat-screen monitor and formatted in Spanish. The schools pay 25-50% of the cost; we pay the rest. Computers for Guatemala guarantees their computers for one year, repairing or replacing defective computers. The computers are used, so on occasion we have problems with some of them. When this happens Computers for Guatemala attends to the matter promptly and professionally. Computers for Guatemala provides a wonderful service for a country way behind the developed countries of the world. I'm really grateful for their service, and intend to order more computers from them for other schools in my region.
The computers that have been brought to the pueblo of Santriago Atitlan have greatly contributed to the educational system of the children who for many are studying for the first time. I was in on the groundwork when the school children were sitting in the mud, without school supplies, without school books, no teachers, not even a roof over their heads. Now we have three new schools. And, of course, I did not do it alone! I began to notice that computers began to appear in the classrooms, and discovered it was due to Donald Livingston's contribution. Mr. Livingston is a very kind and compassion person. He is also very scholarly and desirous of the best education possible for the Mayan children.
I worked with Computers for Guatemala twice while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Not only were they lovely to work with and very professional, but all of the computers we bought came packed with such care that they were in great shape, and they were stuffed full of toys and clothes that were also of great use to the community I lived in. They also take care of all of the shipping costs and border fees, which can be a VERY big challenge if that is not arranged ahead of time. I would highly recommend any organization looking for computers to work with this organization, as I have recommended them to all of my fellow Peace Corps volunteers!
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala and during my 33 year career as a loan officer at the Inter-American Development Bank I was able to observe that often, it was the simple, grass roots projects, which provided goods and services directly to those who needed them, at a reasonable cost, that were the most effective. Computers for Guatemala is an excellent example of an organization which was founded and operates on these principles.
As an advisor to Computers for Guatemala, I have seen founder and president Don Livingston, devote his heart and soul to the ambitious project of providing modern technology to schools and libraries in Guatemala.
With modest financial resources, but a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and persistence, Don has enabled some 19,000 Mayan students to have access to computers for the first time. These recycled computers, donated by generous Americans, open the door to exciting educational and career opportunities for deprived youngsters. In addition, his efforts have led to the construction of high school. After spurring the local government to donate the land, his organization paid for the building materials, while parents and friends did most of the actual building.
As a resident of Darien, Ct, Don’s home town, I can vouch for Don’s integrity and commitment to improving the lives of Guatemala’s Mayan youngsters. Written by Martin Skala
The work that Computers for Guatemala is doing is grand. I am director of ASIVESCA-ONG in Cabañas, Zacapa, Guatemala. We run a Library Project and currently have two computers from them. Students from different levels and ages come to research for homework or prepare for graduation. Computers and Internet are great tools. Nowdays students are asked, in their schools, to research on the web. Most of the families are poor and cannot afford to pay for this service. We provide our service for a donation of ten cents (if possible). Kirk Lightfield is always kind to ask if anything goes wrong and patient to advice. THANKS Compus for Guate for supporting us is our job!
Computers for Guatemala has been a real game changer for the ASIVESCA library. This library is located in Zacapa, Guatemala and serves disadvantaged youth and adults. Access to technology will be crucial for the future of Guatemala and many families don't have the money to pay for internet cafe access. This program is a win-win, because computers that might end up in a landfill are given a second life. ASIVESCA welcomes visitors/volunteers to the library.