At the Integral Heart Foundation our work is to offer educational opportunities and to empower children who come from the most humble of homes. This is the story of one of them; his name is Chente.
We met Chente for the first time in 2010. He and his two siblings were in a such a state that our mouths literally dropped open. There were three siblings ages 3 and 7 and Chente was the youngest one, only one and a half years old.
The father abandoned the home when Chente was born leaving behind the mother with their three children. Later on, the mother found a boyfriend who didn´t know she had children, so she decided to also abandon them in the care of the grandparents to begin a new life with her boyfriend. This is quite common in Guatemala and there are little or no public services to counteract this level of abuse.
The grandparents also had the own children living at home and hardly the means to survive and they would spend all day in the mountains picking up wood so they could sell it later and that´s how they mostly survived. Then, some their own older children had their own families with no jobs or any financial help. It was a crowded and abusive compound.
The situation was even worse since the these three siblings were at the bottom of the chain. They just spent all da alone in the house waiting for grandma to come home for wood picking and fix something to eat. Luisito, the oldest one who was seven at the time, was the one who took care of the two younger ones. Needless to say they were generally filthy severely malnourished, and Chente, in particualar was terrified of adults.
Seeing these kids was the catalyst for our kindergarten program back then which as evolved into our school program now. We began taking care of them and the family from that point on, and still today they come to our school.
Chente was very scared at the beginning and it took some months, if not years, to take pictures with him smiling. Today he loves coming down to our school and he is a very important and happy part of our work. He has good grades in his public school education and he is participating in our reading program.
We have high hopes for him and wish him a great future. We want to appreciate all the effort of our donors throughout the years to see this happening and make possible amazing stories like the one from Chente. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Frederick Douglass Much love to you all from all the Integral Heart Family.
Greetings from Guatemala,
One of our goals when we opened our school in 2016 was to empower our all Guatemalan staff to manage and operate every aspects of the programs and classes offered there to our 80 children and their families. This dream is now becoming a reality and a great test is currently underway.
As the founders, Mick and Debora traveled back to Europe for the first time since moving to Guatemala in 2009 to visit their families in Ireland and Spain they left the school in the most capable hands of the staff they have been working with since they created Integral Heart in 2010.
And, as you will see from the photos all is going really great. The Critical-Thinking classes for teens are being led by two of their senior students as well as the homework help and creative classes for the younger children. The food and education sponsorship program is in the capable hands of their social worker who has been with IHF Guatemala since 2010.
We hope you enjoy and thank you again for all your support,
The All-Guatemalan Staff of Integral Heart Family in Guatemala.
At the Integral Heart Foundation we are always looking for our next superstar and we believe that this year we found a diamond. Eric is new in our philosophy/critical thinking class although he is not new to our programs. He is the third youngest of a family who has been with us since 2010 but it wasn´t until 2017 that he began attending to our class.
Eric is from a family of seven boys who live with their mom. Their dad passed away years ago and the mother couldn´t help her children with the school expenses on her own, therefore we found sponsors for the kids and they have been with us for all of these years. The good news about that is that we can see the kids growing up, and this is the case of Eric.
We first met Eric and his family in 2010 and since then we have been supporting them. We can say that we saw all the brothers growing up. When any of the kids from our sponsored families begin high school, usually around 13 years old, then they have to come to our critical thinking (CT) class. Eric began high school this year, therefore, he began attending to our CT class.
As you can imagine, in a family with so many boys, there is a little bit of competition between them. We witnessed several episodes in the past of not the best kind of competition between brothers. But with Eric things are different. He competes to excel. He only wins through knowledge, participation, thinking, healthy criticism and sharing of new ideas.
This year our class topic, The Cause of Poverty, is very different because of him and his input. His insights are always concise, clear and to the point. He is not ashamed to speak up, but he knows when, how, and what to speak about and how to express himself clearly on such a complex subject.
He is a great addition to our group and family and maybe he can be our next Guatemalan philosopher. For, we, too, believe that to resolve the issues of this country, Guatemalan must understand the reasons why they are in this horrible situation.
Thank you so much for supporting such diamonds who are so needed for our world today. Thank you all for supporting the Integral Heart Family.and