Asociación Grupo Ceiba was established in 1995 to prevent and reduce youth violence in Guatemala City. Initial activities focused on engaging street youth in recreational, cultural and sports activities to offer alternatives to gang affiliation. Since most of the youths participating in its programs had not completed primary school, Grupo Ceiba started an alternative accelerated primary school curriculum to supplement the existing program. It later expanded its offerings to include lower and upper secondary schooling and vocational training. Grupo Ceiba is the first non-governmental organization in Guatemala to offer alternative education programs that are certified by the Ministry of Education.
Grupo Ceiba will draw on its experience providing non-traditional primary school education to underserved children to create a new alternative lower-secondary education program for over-age and working youth and adults whose educational needs are not being met through existing models. This grant will fund development and implementation of an accelerated weekend-study program that will enable 600 primary school graduates who are 15 years or older to fulfill the requirements for a lower secondary education diploma in two years. The program will combine traditional and officially required subjects with computer, small business and English-language instruction linked to a community service requirement.