The ‘Escuela Publica Patricio Atkinson’ (Patrick Atkinson Public School) was created and recognized by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education as an accredited public elementary school in Guatemala’s extremely poor sugar cane coastal district.
Designed to encourage the education of children and young teens who were previously held back from receiving an education so they could cut sugar cane for wealthy landowners, the Escuela Publica Patricio Atkinson also educates the sons and daughters of the region’s prostitutes who cater to the sugar cane workers. Although prostitution is legal in Guatemala, the sons and daughters of the region’s prostitutes rarely attended classes since they were often bullied and frequently physically and sexually assaulted by the other students.
At the Escuela Publica Patricio Atkinson, all of the children are made to feel safe, secure, motivated, and academically challenged. Most of the elementary grade school children who study here go on to attend and graduate from high school.