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
Empowering children is one of our primary goals. Integral Heart Foundation is all about giving those who really strive to change and grow the right tools, environment and possibilities to shine. In this newsletter we have the story of Jacqueline, who now, at the age of thirteen, can take charge of a full class of her peers and teach them English.
Jacqueline began in our program two years ago and we only managed to get her a sponsor four months ago. She and her younger siblings never stopped attending our school classes as they have passion for learning. They also told us that they got great benefit from our tutoring sessions with our senior students and teachers-in-training, fondly known as the ‘Isas’.
Doña Graciela, Jacqueline´s mom, is a 36 year-old divorced woman. She works making and selling tortillas and washing other people´s clothes when possible. Her oldest son, Diego, who is 18 years-old works during the week in order to help the family financially and to pay his studies as a mechanic over the weekend. He works as a mason assistant and sometimes as a helper on trash trucks.
Jacqueline has two younger siblings, Yajaira, who is 11, and Leonel who is 9. Their passion for study comes from their mom. When she was abandoned by her husband, soon after Leonel the youngest one was born, she realized that her children didn´t have to go through what she did. She hersef was abused as a child and never was sent to school. Now, as a single mother, she didn´t know how to write or how to read so she registered herself in an education program for adults where she got her high-school level diploma. She did it because she wanted to help her children with their homework so they could study and have a better future.
The mother learned about our program through our social worker, Marisol, and asked her if she could send her kids to our school. We were happy to accommodate the. Our surprise came when Jacqueline, who at that time was only 11, began speaking to us in English fluently, something very unusual for kids at that age in Guatemala.
Only four months ago we found Jacqueline a sponsor and now the whole family is benefiting from the advantages of our sponsorship program that includes a monthly basket of groceries. But the best part is that Jacqueline is playing an active role in teaching English to her schoolmates when our senior students are not available for that class. She and her sister Yajaira have conversations in English between them and we think that she can be our future English teacher for the school.
Her motto is “nothing is impossible if you want it really badly” and she is living up to that. I am sure in the future you will hear more about her from us, but for now, kudos to Jacqueline and her strength.
Integral Heart Foundation couldn´t be more grateful to all of you who make these great dreams possible. We feel really fortunate of being the bridge between such powerful hearts. Thank you.