In early August, the Child Health and Education program arranged free dental checkups at the local health clinic for scholarship students at Chacayá and Panabaj schools.
It was jarring to see the depth of need. Of the thirty-two students that arrived at the clinic, thirty needed a cavity filled or a tooth pulled. One girl had ten extractions and a few more cavities filled. Luckily, she was young enough that all of those extracted were primary teeth. Our Water, Santiation, and Hygiene program coordinators will make sure that she receives a toothbrush, toothpaste, and careful instruction about personal hygiene habits before her permanent teeth come in.
As for the students who weren’t able to receive checkups or operations the day of the clinic, the dentist left openings in his schedule for the next few weeks. By the end of September all of them will have received enough care to last through next year, when they’ll have the opportunity to revisit the dentist.
Along those lines, we’re thankful for our strong relationship with the local clinic. The dental work required at partner schools is far too much to address in a single day, and having an available dentist close by ensures that each student will receive the attention he or she deserves.
Now – in part due to medical checkups like these – nineteen scholarship students will be graduating the sixth grade this October. Most have already stayed in school longer than their parents did, and for those lucky enough to receive continued support from sponsors, the past six years will now serve springboard into new educational opportunities.
These nineteen graduates are a testament to your generosity and ongoing support. Because of you, they have been able to pursue education without sacrificing food or medical attention for the rest of their families.
Moving forward, we’d like to make next year’s graduating class even larger. Please consider donating to give a new grade of students the same educational opportunities that our current graduates enjoyed. It’s amazing how just a few dollars can make the difference between early entrance into the workforce and a high school or university degree.
Because of your donations students from our Child Education Sponsorship Program (CHE) have been receiving medical checkups as part of the yearly Jornada Medica. It is wonderful to see students waiting eagerly to see their doctor and to hear parents express the benefits these medical visits bring to their children.
The visits are a comprehensive checkup on the child’s health, which allows the doctor to address the illnesses many children face that prevent them from attending school regularly: stomach problems caused by intestinal parasites, scabies, toothaches, earaches, and vision problems. Medications and vitamin supplements are distributed for those that need them as well as referrals for the August dental checkup. During the Jornada CHE also monitors weight and height of each student, which allows us to address malnourishment issues amongst the benefited families.
Healthy bodies translate into healthy minds, allowing students to stay in school longer and pursue new career opportunities. With your support, we will continue to provide these checkups to children in need across the Santiago Atitlan region. All of us – the staff at Pueblo a Pueblo and the children in our program – deeply appreciate your contribution.
Last week all our partner school students participated in Santiago’s Olympic School Games. Boys and girls competed against each other in team sports as well as track and field. It was great to see students from Pueblo a Pueblo’s programs competing and giving it 110%!
Sponsored children were seen all around town running in their physical education uniforms and new sneakers, donated by their sponsors through our Child Education Sponsorship program. These uniforms gave students the opportunity to participate and enjoy all of the Olympic activities as well as have appropriate gear during Physical Education Class.
This simple fact can seem insignificant for us but it is so meaningful in a child’s health and education: these gifts make it possible for students to fully participate in all of their school activities, which help strengthen their self-esteem, wellbeing, and their relationships with peers and teachers.
This week, backpacks-for-sale line the streets of Santiago, teachers are hard at work preparing their lesson plans, and Pueblo a Pueblo is preparing for another year of educational support in our 7 partner schools.
The new school year commences on Monday, and for many parents in Santiago Atitlán, this day marks the beginning of another year of anxiety over expensive school costs and the possibility of having to force their children withdraw from school for economic reasons. For 6 years, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Child Education Support program has been helping elementary school-aged children access an education they could otherwise not obtain. This year, 149 students from the Chukmuk, Panabaj and Chacayá public elementary schools will be provided with the class supplies, books, uniforms and one-on-one support they need to succeed in school. The Guatemala office has turned into temporary chaos as pencils, notebooks, art supplies, glue and much more are packed into backpacks for the students sponsored through our program. Monday morning, supplies will be provided to these children and with them the possibility of a brighter future.
Our other programs are also making preparations for a year full of new plans, goals and projects! Literacy activities in the Chukmuk School Library will continue as well as classes in our organic school gardens, and our activity coordinators are excited to get back to working with the children and teachers of our partner schools. In 2013, Pueblo a Pueblo is reaffirming its’ dedication to community-wide education through increased trainings for teachers, parents and community members. As an organization, we are aware that the success of our programs relies on the participation of all members of the school community, and we are constantly working to strengthen leadership and empower our partners through comprehensive educational programs.
A new year brings new possibilities, and this year we are looking forward to seeing the dreams of our partner school children, teachers, parents and staff being realized. Thank you for your continued support!
The school year is nearing its end in Santiago Atitlan and while most schools are getting ready to close the gates for the 2 month recess, Panabaj School is still working hard to make the buildings and outdoor spaces welcoming and attractive for the over 200 students that study here. This month, as part of Pueblo a Pueblo’s Organic School Garden project, Panabaj School participated in a fun competition centered on the concept of sustainable urban gardens. The garden competition encouraged the use of small spaces, and inspired children to start thinking about innovative re-uses for materials that they encounter every day at home, on the street or at school.
Pueblo a Pueblo’s Organic School Garden project serves as a tool for enriching the learning environment for children, and is based on the idea that a school garden and a classroom should be complementary and interchangeable spaces. We love working with teachers and students on fun hands-on projects where the children can learn and take their new knowledge home!
Together with the 4 other schools that participated, Panabaj School did an amazing job transforming small corners of the campus into beautiful garden spaces. The competition was based on four categories: the use of recycled materials, creativity, quality & functionality, and student-teacher participation.
The school community of Panabaj once again demonstrated how, when they come together for a single common purpose, so much can be accomplished. Now the school not only has electricity in the classrooms, fresh paint, and working bathrooms with doors, it also has an array of plants to warm up the school. And even better, everything was planned and directed by the school itself, showing students’ and teachers’ creativity to shine.
Thanks to donors to the reconstruction project, the students and teachers can now be proud of the beautiful school they have knowing that they too have contributed to its improvement!
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