First Tech Center Underway in One of the Poorest Areas in Rural Guatemala

Access to Technology Will Bring Our Children in Poverty Closer to the World; Help Them Succeed, Say Locals

Online PR News – 03-June-2010 – – Spokane, WA, June 3, 2010 – Technology is helping impoverished countries make significant progress towards community development, but in the indigenous Mayan population of Boca Costa de Sololá -- one of the poorest areas in Guatemala marginalized by language and cultural barriers -- computers are foreign. A donation from the Florida-based energy company TECO Energy will soon change that. Using the donation, Roots & Wings International (RWI), a non-profit focused on promoting economic development in rural Guatemala through education, training and technology, has begun the construction of the first high-tech center in the region. The building, which will serve as a computer lab/study room with 20+ computers, is planned to be finished in September 2010 and functional in November.

The Center will host RWI’s computer literacy program certified by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, assist with RWI's after-school tutoring program and be available for homework assignments and research to RWI's young scholars (the local Mayan recipients of the full-tuition university scholarships raised by the organization).

“People all over Guatemala and especially in the Boca Costa region of Sololá lack access to technology,” notes Cristobal Guarchaj Tambriz, director of RWI’s office in Guatemala. “The Center will help us serve our young students better and extend computer literacy efforts to the surrounding 15 villages. Our children in poverty will learn computer skills, become part of the world, gain access to better employment opportunities, improve their lives and help their families and communities. Upon completion, we anticipate between 500 and 600 users. In addition to hosting programs designed to assist our young scholarship recipients, the Center will be available to the community for a nominal fee.”

According to Victor Urrutia, Vice-President of Operations for TECO Guatemala, the energy company began working with Roots & Wings International in 2008 by sponsoring RWI’s scholarship program and providing five university scholarships for the local indigenous youth. “As we became more familiar with the program, we were impressed with RWI’s determination to provide educational opportunities to children in the marginalized indigenous communities of Guatemala. We liked the idea of economic development that begins with the community and the effort to empower local individuals. When RWI developed plans for the first technology center in the area, we committed to funding it. They just had to ask, and we were excited to help,” says Mr. Urrutia.

About Roots & Wings International (RWI)

RWI was created in 2004 by Erik Swanson, a business attorney at Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, to improve the lives of Guatemala’s indigenous population through education, training and technology. RWI has several donation programs including sponsoring a student for as little as $5 per month, making a one-time donation, naming a scholarship, corporate gift matching, buying coffee, shopping at Amazon for the cause, volunteering with skills and time and starting a fundraiser. For additional information about RWI, visit

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If you would like to learn more about RWI, or to schedule an interview with Erik Swanson, please call 503-564-8831 or email

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