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Stories of migration from some of the best young journalists in Mexico, Central America and the United States

School lunches keep kids in the classroom, and at home

Francisco Rodriguez de Leon and Giovanna Dell Orto reporting from Guatemala

Media attention around the flood of child migrants from Central America has focused on the growing violence that children are escaping. But there are other, long-standing reasons for children to leave their homes, including sheer hunger. In north eastern Guatemala. many children are lucky to have two meals a day, mostly just tortillas and chile. The Guatemalan government is supposed to provide school meals to combat this trend, but in some out-of-the-way districts, the money arrives late, or not at all. A USDA-funded program has stepped in to take up the slack, and proponents say children are staying in school -- and at home -- as a result.





Using food to keep Guatemalan kids in school

by Giovanna Dell Orto


May 17, 2015

Marvin Mendez, 14, had just polished off his school meal of tortilla, refried beans, steamed plantain and atol, a corn/soy blend similar to porridge, and was all eagerness to tackle the day's big assignment: To read and copy in his notebook Aesop's fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper."

Marvin is the youngest of six brothers, all of whom eke out a precarious living in tiny maize plots here, deep in Guatemala's highlands, making $4 a day when the weather is good.

But in this three-room school, the sixth-grader hopes for a …

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Si la comida llegara a tiempo a las escuelas

by Francisco Rodriguez de Leon


Aug. 8, 2015

El tercer desembolso para comprar la refaccion escolar es una promesa que lleva dos meses de retraso, y contando. Maria Sales, fundadora y directora de la escuela "Casero Buena Vista, en San Gaspar Ixil, Huehuetenango, revisa los documentos donde tiene anotado el ultimo aporte recibido por parte del Ministerio de Educacion (Mineduc) y con el que deberia comprar la comida para sus alumnos. "Si, el dinero que nos depositaron la ultima vez tenia que alcanzar hasta el 30 de mayo, pero se acaba antes" dice.

Para llegar a la escuela son 40 minutos de camino desde la cabecera departamental, la …

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