Report to Donors and Supporters

Dear friends of the Tigh Sgoile Trust,
We are pleased to send you a summary of our work during the last 18 months.

Year 1
17 March 2021 – 31 March 2022

During the year 2021-2022, the Tigh Sgoile Trust financed five projects, two in Guatemala and three in Honduras.  Our partners in Guatemala were Erick Lewin and Vico Bonilla, facilitators of personal development workshops.  In Honduras, we worked through the Lenca Foundation for Community Development.

In Guatemala, we enabled 54 people, mainly women with a background in education and community development, to undertake a 10-day personal development workshop.  As a result of the workshops, the participants were supported in processing traumatic experiences resulting from war, social violence and poverty and are now better able to serve their communities and sustain their own mental health.

In Honduras, we enabled 12 young people from the indigenous Lenca region of western Honduras to develop their education and income-generation opportunities and thereby build a more secure and hopeful future for themselves.  The young people include 6 girls and 6 boys, aged between 14 and 20 years old.

8 young people have together planted one hectare of coffee, spread across small plots of land owned by their families. Four young people have developed a small pig farm, which will provide an income through the breeding and sale of piglets.  For both coffee and pigs, there is a good local and national market.

In the area of education, we have enabled the 12 young people to study at secondary and advanced level by funding local teachers to provide classes at the weekends.  The education project is linked to a nationally recognised distance-learning programme called “Teacher at Home”.  Without our support, these young people would have no access to education beyond primary school, owing to their financial circumstances and the lack of secondary schools and further education colleges in the local area.

The teachers, funded by the Tigh Sgoile Trust, also ran a computer course for 16 pupils of the local primary school and 8 students from the Teacher at Home programme, benefiting 24 children and young people in total.

As our collaboration with the communities in western Honduras has grown, we have contributed to the formal legal constitution of our counterpart organisation, which has been set up as the Lenca Foundation for Community Development, FUNLEDCOM.  This means that, in future, there will be a more robust legal status to our partner relationship in Honduras, providing a solid platform for the consolidation and expansion of our education and income-generation projects in the coming years.  The trustees of the Tigh Sgoile Trust met with the trustees of FUNLEDCOM via Zoom in December 2021 to establish a more personal connection between the two organisations and to share perspectives on our work and hopes for the future.

Last year, 2021-2022, the Tigh Sgoile Trust received £ 12,713 in donations and spent £12,682 on project grants, leaving a balance of £31.  This amount was distributed to three projects in Honduras to the value of £11,826 and two projects in Guatemala to the value of £856.

Our income came mainly from donations from friends and family, as well as our own funds. We also took part in a virtual Kiltwalk in April 2021, for which we received a donation from the Hunter Foundation.

Progress Update - Year 2
1 April 2022 – 21 September 2022

During the current year, 2022-23, we have concentrated all our work in Honduras in support of the newly formed Lenca Foundation for Community Development, FUNLEDCOM. This is partly because of the dynamism and expansion of the community projects in Honduras, and partly because the work in Guatemala has had more opportunities for funding from other sources.

The year began with 49 young people participating in the projects, up from 12 people last year.  The projects include education, vocational training, coffee-growing and reforestation. Recently, nine more families have joined the coffee growing part of the project.

In the first half of the year, the young people planted about two hectares of coffee, distributed over their families’ smallholdings.  This compares with one hectare of coffee planted last year.

The young people have also established five nurseries, three at individual level and two as collective projects, where they are growing coffee seedlings and forest trees including Cedar and Tatascán.

The education programme has 30 students, studying between 7th and 11th grade, (secondary and advanced level).  The students include 11 girls and young women, and 19 boys and young men.  Each one has received a kit of textbooks and school materials.  The programme has been officially recognised by the Honduran Ministry of Education.

In coordination with the Ministry of Education, FUNLEDCOM has also organized an adult education group, funded separately by the Honduran government.

The 30 students are also participating in a computer course, which benefits a further 15 children from the local primary school.

Two young men have been learning metalwork.  They trained for three months in the building of metal structures for roofs, balconies, windows, and doors, and are currently doing some further training to consolidate their skills.  Other young people have trained in motorcycle repairs.

In addition to a receiving a written narrative and financial report from FUNLEDCOM for the first semester of the year, we were delighted to be invited to a meeting via Zoom with some of the young people participating in the projects, during which we heard from them about their work and what it means to them.

The total budget for Honduras in 2022 is USD 14,313.52, approximately £12,000. This includes about US$4,500 for coffee, fruit trees and forest trees; USD 7,500 for education and vocational training, and US$2,000 for a computer, an accounts system and related training.

So far, our donations this year have reached £19,510 and we hope to increase that amount to about £24,000 by the end of the year.  Two Kiltwalks in Glasgow and Edinburgh have helped provide a focus for our fundraising, and we are grateful to all donations, small and large, from family and friends, whether as one-off contributions or through regular, monthly giving.  Thank you for all your wonderful support which is hugely appreciated.

The balance of funds from 2022 will enable us to start 2023 with a good reserve and give continuity to the Honduran projects in what is currently a difficult economic climate.  The increase in the cost of living, both at home and in Honduras, mean a certain caution in what we expect to receive as donations going forward, whilst we have already seen a substantial rise in cost of basic project items such as transport, compost and books owing to the impact of the global energy crisis.

Nevertheless, we feel optimistic about our capacity to support the work in Honduras in the coming years.  It is an exciting time to be involved in the projects, emerging as they are from small seeds into more ambitious and creative enterprises.

One area of growth may be the development of some small businesses at local level, including the setting up of a metalwork business, a motorcycle repair shop, a photocopying service and a barber/hairdresser.

The underlying vision of all this work is to create opportunities for young people and especially women to develop their skills and build a dignified and hopeful future for themselves and their families. This is what we want to be a part of - an experience of local community development that nurtures their human potential and expresses hope, solidarity and self-belief.

Thank you again for being part of this experience and sharing your good wishes, encouragement and financial support to help the projects have the best chance of success.  We are hugely grateful.

Sarah, Chris and Jo

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