While it’s misty and dreary in Chajul, nothing can dampen our spirits! We are excited to share some good news with you. The first round of report cards for our middle school youth were delivered in May. We are delighted to report that our students have an average of 75%, grades considered quite high in Chajul!
Starting this year, all LHI middle schoolers are enrolled in our partner school, Colegio San Gaspar, which provides the best education in Chajul. The school’s director, Balthazar Raymundo, recently told us that the LHI scholars are leading in all their classes and making great progress! We are so pleased that our youth are setting a good example to their peers!
While we are proud of all our scholars, some deserve specific mention.
Rony just started his first year of middle school. Known around the LHI Community Center for his cheeky grin and somewhat mischievous nature, Rony has also attracted our attention because of his outstanding performance in class. Not only does he have the highest average among the first years with 77%, he also received a 92 in English. Congratulations to Rony!
Last year, Roselda received the highest grades among her entire cohort of LHI peers. This year, she continues to excel, earning the highest average of all our middle schoolers while also scoring a 95 in Spanish. Terrific!
As part of our efforts to motivate our youth to earn good grades and provide a correlation between fun and learning, LHI rewarded all students with an average over 75% with a field trip to a local waterfall. 13 students met the qualifications, and were rewarded with a wonderful day of hiking, swimming and – against all odds – sun!
Thanks to your generous support, Limitless Horizons Ixil scholars have the opportunity to excel academically. We look forward to keeping you updated on the incredible progress you are helping to effect in Chajul and in the lives of our ambitious scholars.
Tantiuxh, gracias, and thank you!
Alice Stevens on behalf of all the LHI scholars
P.S. Donate after noon (EDT) on June 25th and see your donation doubled! Microsoft Youth Sparks Match Day is an amazing opportunity to meet our fundraising goal; we hope you come out in support!
Today we’d like update you on the progress of one of our highly successful scholars from Limitless Horizons Ixil’s Youth Development Program. Thanks to your generous contributions, our program continues to empower the youth of Chajul to improve their lives and better their community.
David Imul Calel graduated from high school and our program a few months ago and has just been hired as one of two new librarians for our Saber Sin Límites (Limitless Knowledge) Community Library. David encapsulates both the impact of our program but also our hopes for the long-term effect of our work in his position as a leader, a role model, and a change-maker in Chajul. To fully appreciate David’s successes, let’s reflect on the circumstances from which he emerged.
Like most of our youth, David is a product of the Ixil region’s long and complex history of genocide, war, and displacement. His parents fled their village during the Guatemalan Civil War, losing their home, land, and farming equipment. They lived in hiding in the mountains before settling in Chajul. David has 12 siblings, though only eight are alive today.
There were many times David thought he would have to give up his education in order to farm his family’s corn plot. But thanks to your support of our program, David was able to graduate, and is now a professional and a leader in his community. For the first time, David says that he is proud to contribute to his family’s income. David’s progress hasn’t stopped—on the weekends he also studies agronomy in university in the nearby town of Nebaj.
“Chajul needs me,” David responds when asked if he plans to live in the village in the future. He believes he has a responsibility to act as an example of what you can achieve with optimism and hard work. He hopes that with his agronomy degree he will be able to contribute to the development of Chajul and tackle problems related to health, malnutrition, and food access.
David shows how our programs can help achieve long-term, sustainable change within the community of Chajul. LHI’s goal is that our education-focused programs will have a ripple effect and effect change not only directly in education, but in other areas, like health and agriculture, where Chajul needs support.
In David's role as a librarian, he is proud to have the opportunity to bestow upon our young readers his conviction—that hard work and self-belief can lead to real progress. Thank you for your belief in David and the rest of our youth.
On behalf of the LHI team
Esperanza and her peers—the Limitless Horizons Ixil youth in their last year of middle school—have all graduated! These youth are a smashing success. In fact, this year LHI youth of all ages received higher average grades than ever before. Nine of the 11—including Esperanza—will be continuing as Limitless Horizons Ixil Youth Development Program participants and scholarship recipients in 2014 as they start high school. In Guatemala, one normally selects a career focus in high school, and these youth have selected a variety of high school programs. Some will be studying in programs only offered outside of their hometown, and some will be staying in Chajul. They are so excited to be embarking on this next great step. The group put their heads together collectively and wrote this message:
“This year, we have the opportunity to graduate from middle school and go on to high school. Each of us has chosen a different career (high school field of study) because we want to continue achieving our dreams and have success in our future lives. Studying in high school is the base of every good education. We will each be going off to different schools. We are very proud of all that we have accomplished, thanks to the support of each one of you.”
Happy holidays and thank you from Esperanza and her peers!
P.S. Below is a drawing from the graduating students. The caption says, “In the sunset of every beautiful evening is all the peace of the earth. It’s as beautiful as the hope of life.”
Thank you so much for supporting the youth of genocide-torn Chajul through your support of Limitless Horizons Ixil's project on GlobalGiving. You're helping to provide scholarships and support services for hard-working youth from families in need as they strive to make it through middle school and high school. We're writing to let you know that because of YOUR support, the youth graduating from middle school this year, including Esperanza and her classmates, are thinking about their career options as they apply to high school programs!
Over the last few weeks, our local program staff Edilma and Verónica have been visiting the families of all of our youth who will be entering high school next year. In Guatemala, the school year starts in January and each student selects a high school based on a career focus, or pursues a general college-prep degree. Here's an update on a couple of the youth from this class:
Esperanza still dreams of becoming a music teacher, but she's also interested in other types of education. No matter what, she wants to continue beyond high school with a university education to best prepare for her future career. She's looking at several high schools outside of Chajul that could offer her a general college-prep degree.
Francisco Magdiel's grades are through the roof. His family owns a store a few doors down from the LHI office, but the world is his oyster and he is considering high schools where he can specialize in accounting. We know he has the smarts for it!
Esperanza, Francisco Magdiel, and all their classmates are thinking about their futures. Because of the war and limited economic resources, most of their parents never had the chance to graduate from primary school. And these 9 youth have the opportunity to pursue a productive career path in high school and beyond. It's hard to fully convey just how incredible this opportunity is for them. Thank you for making it possible.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions or are interested in getting involved as a youth sponsor. And please make sure you're on our email list so you can stay on top of general LHI news!
With gratitude and hope,
Danielle Huffaker, International Coordinator, Limitless Horizons Ixil
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Operations & Development Associate
San Gaspar Chajul,