7-9th grade (basico). Boys and girls come to school speaking almost exclusively their native dialect. During these years there is a strong focus to learn Spanish in addition to regular classes. Practical experience is focused on agriculture and students work on the school tilapia ponds and agricultural projects. Students are in school 3 months and then go home for a 2 week vacation.
Students live in very basic conditions. Dorms don’t have running water or electricity. Boys and girls are responsible for about 15 hours of chores every week to keep the school running. (examples). As part of tuition, students also provide 2 weeks of labour every year before school starts.
10-12th grade (diversificado). Students must choose between two paths Sustainable Tourism or Rural Community Development. 10th and 11th graders are in class 6 weeks and then go to their internship for 2 weeks. 12th graders have an intense internship the last 3 months of school aug-oct. Sustainable Tourism students will learn to work in your traditional tourism related businesses and intern in restaurants and hotels in Rio Dulce as well as other touristic regions of the country. Rural Community Development students learn how to implement development projects and will work with NGO’s, local governments or private institutions. In response to newly identified needs, new skills are being taught in community water and waste management and land surveying
Life in the rural villages served by Ak’Tenamit is very hard. In many many cases, our students are the first in their families to go past an elementary education. Most have parents who can’t read and write. Homes are huts with dirt floors, no running water, no electricity.
Average income is around $500 per year. 53% of the Guatemalan population live in poverty defined by ($1.50 - $3.00 per day). 13.3% live in extreme poverty which is under $1.50 per day (National Institute of Statistics).
Parents are farmers who grow corn or beans on a small plot of land. Many need their children to help work the land and for this reason have a hard time letting them leave.
Ak'Tenamit has graduated a total of 428 students. In 2012, 48 students graduated and within a few months 46 had found employment. For the 2013 class, 80 students are on track to graduate.