All children enrolled in elementary, middle, or high school are welcome to join Guaruma. Students are encouraged, though not obligated, to complete at least three years of training with Guaruma. The goal is to expand their skills in computers, photography, English and environmental science as fully as possible.
Our educational program called Guaruma Plus aims to strengthen students’ graphic design skills, while providing them with the opportunity to gain work experience and earn an income by doing design work for local businesses and organizations.
At our facilities in Las Mangas, the community has built a computer center, a classroom, a graphic design workshop, and accommodation for four Guaruma volunteers. In El Pital, there are two Guaruma classrooms and accommodation for two volunteers.
During the classes the students work on practical activities such as creating bulletins, calendars, photo essays and organic gardens. This hands-on aspect of our program allows the children to see a product from their labors and thus builds confidence and self-esteem.
In January 2007, two of our students received international recognition for placing 1st and 2nd place in an international photography competition. Later that year, another student won a contest giving him a scholarship to travel to the United States and spend a week studying with National Geographic photographers. In June 2008, one of our students was recognized with an award from the BBC Naturalist Photographer Youth Contest. Currently, one of our students is taking part in a cultural exchange program with ICYE (International Cultural Youth Exchange) in Austria.