Our Project

Our project supports sustainable qualitative education to poor Maya children in the small village of San Juan Gomalapa in Guatemala. Through decent basic education we want to give these children the possibility to follow higher studies and increase their chances in finding a job at later stage. Courses are given by Maya teachers with a strong focus on gender equality. The school also gives medical and social support to the poorest families of the children.
Go to History


The school is led by Camila Mendoza, who started this initiative with her husband in 1996. Very soon, more classes and, thus, more funding were needed. Unfortunately, the government would not support this private initiative and the poor local community could not pay for private education. When a Belgian group of friends visited the school in 2003, they immediately decided to support the school financially. Finally, in 2007, the association AJPOPOLI VZW was created with the purpose of giving support to this educational project. She is much appreciated by the local community who considers her as a very wise and charismatic person.

Go to Guatemala


Guatemala is “the country of eternal spring”, but remains one of the most poor and violent countries in Latin America. Especially Indian communities, such as the Mayas, live in difficult and poor conditions. Guatemala is a beautiful country, but still has to overcome a lot of political, economic and social issues. The country and its population are slowly recovering from a thirty year civil war, which ended in 1996.

Go to Comalapa


San Juan Comalapa is a small mountain village located 80 km Northwest of the capital. The majority of the population are Maya Indians living in poor conditions. Education is only limited and many people are analphabetic. Most men cultivate vegetables for their own use on small pieces of land. Women often stay at home and try to support their families by creating and selling small linen craftwork on the local markets. As their income is very low, parents cannot afford education for their children. The local language is Kaqchikel, while Spanish is only being taught at school.

The School

The school is called “Centro Educativo Ajpopoli’ Ak’wala” (ie. bringing wisdom to the youth) and gives education to 300 pupils from the 3rd kindergarten until the 3rd secondary grade. 60% of the students are girls. Ajpopoli vzw entirely finances the 24 teachers and staff members of the school through foster parents programs and other funding campaigns. Camila Mendoza Pérez, born in 1961, is the school’s key person. Her husband, Pantaleon Simon, with whom she founded the school, passed away in 2005. Camila was fortunate to get proper school education and studied for teacher. In 2014, she obtained a degree in Psychology and Social Counseling through weekend schooling. Her commitment to the school and the childrens’ local families is huge. Families often ask for advice and support in social, psychological, medical and financial matters.

Our Team

In this project, every board member assists as a volunteer. Twice a year a board member visits Comalapa completely at his or her own expense to meet the children and their families, to audit the accounts and to evaluate the proper management of the school. Throughout the year, the school’s management and our team have frequent contact.

Lou Decime

The startup of the school by some teachers and their social responsiveness to help the local community convinced me and some friends to found Ajpopoli vzw. Our goal is to support and further develop the school.

Alexander Hanjoul

Good basic education is an important prerequisite for a future that offers opportunities.

Annemie Swartelé

Every time I visit the school I am so impressed by the excellent work which is being done by Camila and her staff. Hence I decided to assist the organization by giving administrative support and being the contact person for the foster parents of the children of our school.

Adi Decime

As a foster parent, I also assisted in founding Ajpopoli VZW. I am responsible for the correct and fully transparent accounting..


My family and I have been foster parents since 2012. Now, we support 2 children. My key motivation is the knowledge that my little contribution to this project makes a huge difference in these children’s future


Each time I visit the school, I feel humble again. The incredible dedication of the school management and teachers and the enthusiasm of the students motivate me to fully engage myself for this project.


I became foster parent in 2009, because I am convinced that good education is the best solution to remedy poverty in the long run. I have committed myself to Ajpopoli VZW, because the association members all truly operate as volunteers, i.e. in organising fund raising activities and finding new enthusiastic foster parents.


You cannot imagine what a small contribution as foster parent means in Guatemala. Being able to go to school opens the window to the world and gives a future to the poorest. This makes me happy.

Support Us

You can become a foster parent of a Maya child for only € 25 per month or € 300 per year.
In Belgium, your financial sponsorship or donation is fiscally deductible for 45% (minimum amount of € 40 per year) .

IBAN: BE82 0000 9019 7468
From S.O.S. (Scheut Ontwikkelingssamenwerking)
With mention: 08 502 001 – Ajpopoli

Photo Album

Ajpopoli a non-profit organisation

Registration nbr. 889 160 297

RLP Leuven


IBAN: BE82 0000 9019 7468


From SOS (Scheut Ontwikkelingssamenwerking)

With mention: 08 502 001 - Ajpopoli

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