Sep 5, 2017

Teaching the Love of Reading

One of the most important projects at the Integral Heart Foundation is our Philosophy/Critical-Thinking Program. This program, which is mandatory for the children of our sponsored families, begins for the students when they enter high school, or at 13 years of age.

But also at the Integral Heart Foundation we have children of all ages. We believe that it is important to nurture the capacity for free thinking as soon as possible; to help them get to the point at which they can begin questioning, to become curious about the roots of their ideas and concepts, getting them to look at the ‘why’ of the world around them.

We affirm that they get to read because they like to do so, no because they have to. Of course example is the best teaching tool and this is why we dedicate a time every day to just reading. We have a small library, which we are working to expand and develop, with books that are appropriate to all ages, including those for the little ones.

Our senior students and support staff sit with our younger student and read together, telling stories of other countries, times, realms, cultures and so on.

The younger students are really loving it and they are eager for more, they even bring more books to the tables before we finish the last story so we can continue reading more.

Because of this, and as part of a new effort underway, there is a project being born at our school. A complete, small, yet comprehensive library that will be run by one of our senior students so everyone can bring books home and read as they please. We will keep you updated as this project progresses.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Our deepest appreciation and gratefulness to all of you for your support our work here and for allowing for these kids to travel to more and more places!

Much love to you all from the Integral Heart Foundation.

Debora in reading time with the younger ones
Debora in reading time with the younger ones
Blanca in reading time
Blanca in reading time
Sep 5, 2017

The Story of Chente

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.

Chente the day we found him in 2010
Chente the day we found him in 2010
The 3 of them on the first day we met them
The 3 of them on the first day we met them
Jul 31, 2017

Taking Charge

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.

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