Warm greetings from Guatemala,
The rainy season has passed without much trouble this year so we are grateful for that!
We are also grateful to you for all your support of our work thus far this year. We are still a little short on our budget and we are confident that coming into this giving season we can all close this gap together.
October 1st was “El Día del Niño” (The Day of the Child) in Guatemala therefore we decided at La Academia to celebrate with all our little ones. Normally the schedule if full of classes for the kids and teenagers and this day was a very welcome break to just play!!So all involved in our family, including staff, volunteer students-in-practice, teachers and even the dogs, listened the inner voice of the little child, and everyone participated and had fun. They had a special meal prepared with love and flavor by our chef Moma Sonia, cake, candy, sodas, music, piñatas, games, little gifts and even a clown. During the whole day our children could do what they do best; simply be children, enjoying themselves and not having to worry about anything.We would like to appreciate you again for helping make this space open to creativity, innocence and safety. Mick and Debora (co-founders)And the staff and children ofThe Integral Heart Family in Antigua Guatemala.
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.
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.