Belize, a small country in Central America formerly known as British Honduras, achieved independence from Great Britain just over 30 years ago.
While Belize has a relatively high per capita income compared to other countries in Central America, there exists a huge income disparity between rich and poor. A 2010 economic assessment found that 40% of Belizeans live in poverty – this number is significantly higher in the rural areas of Belize.
"..40% of Belizeans live in poverty."
Although reduction of poverty and inequity is a one of the government’s key goals, a sizable trade deficit and a huge foreign debt has limited its effectiveness in achieving this goal.
The Belizean government subsidizes primary school (K-8) education for all students. However, 23% of Belizeans over the age of 15 cannot read or write. In Belize, secondary schools are not free, and even more challenging, are located far from the rural villages where the greatest poverty exists.
"In Belize, secondary schools are not free.."
The average income in the villages are approximately $2.50 per person, per day. As a result, many families in Belize cannot afford to send their children to high school due to the cost of transportation, lunch, fees, books and uniforms. Yet a secondary education is critical for youth to attain a meaningful vocation. Studies show that while each additional year of education increases yearly earnings by 7%, each year of secondary school increases earnings by up to 15%.*
Students who are unable to attend secondary school will most likely be unemployed or underemployed and thus relegated to perpetuate the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
"Students who are unable to attend secondary school will most likely be unemployed or underemployed.."
We believe that a key element to breaking the cycle of poverty is the integration of a vibrant faith with the life-long gift of education.
We offer these at-risk youth the gift of a secondary school education that – far from being simply four additional years of school – opens up hope for the future.
Working in tandem, our three integrated programs help ensure that young people in Belize have a real chance at an education.
Our goal is to help each student, teacher and local community to reach their God-given potential.