Apply to Join
Sep 4, 2018

Art Classes and the Importance of Creativity

Mano a mano director Jose and a painting he made
Mano a mano director Jose and a painting he made

6 months ago, Mano a Mano officially launched the weekend activities with the kids! We have worked very hard to build this tutoring program so that it can be as useful as it is interesting and fun for the participants. We recently evaluated the results of our objectives and looked into the the children’s feedback more closely. Since then, we have adapted our agenda and revised our workshop’s framework.

Our program’s coordinator, José, has incredible artistic talent, which he has been developing as an artisan and painter since a young age. We all agreed that it would be ludicrous not to take advantage of his natural aptitudes for the benefit of the children of Mano a Mano! Therefore, along with the magisterial classes and reading classes, we decided to include thematic art classes to our program. So far, the children are loving it!

We believe that adding art classes to our curriculum brings many benefits to the children and offers a great way to learn differently than at school. Introducing art activities to the kids helps them develop their creativity, makes them practice their problem resolution skills, challenges their patience, encourages determination and dedication, all the while improving their self-confidence.

In our first art workshop, we saw the immense enthusiasm that the kids had for learning and discovering their artistic abilities, and we were very happy to see that the students were both interested and participated energetically in this new area of the program. Our first workshop was introductory, so our topic was “Painting techniques.” Not all the participants have had the opportunity to paint, trace, or draw before. We taught them a few techniques such as drawing and combining shapes to make a landscape so that they can express their imagination, but the best part of this first workshop was discovering that some of the children do have immense artistic ability and would only need some support to develop their talents. It would make us so proud to see a future where a few of the kids become professional painters because painting, along with weaving, is also an important artistic tradition for our pueblo.

We could only use the materials and resources that we already had at our disposition, which ended up being just enough pieces of paper for each student and some colored pencils. Yet, something that struck our attention was that we were able to work with the few materials that were available to us. Unfortunately, our program lacks the resources to create a more robust arts program, but we are convinced that art not only has the capacity to motivate our kids to stay in school but also can help them discover their creative talents. In spite of the challenges, we are dedicated to developing our arts workshops.

We need your help to afford art supplies for all the children! With your donations, we wish to purchase color pencils, paint, brushes, and canvas that can be use over a year-long workshops series.

Please consider donating! <3



Hadasa draws next to her giggling sister Damaris
Hadasa draws next to her giggling sister Damaris
Jose Miguel shows his work to the class
Jose Miguel shows his work to the class
Aug 2, 2018

Motivating Dolores's Family to Keep her in School

Dolores and her mother Josefa
Dolores and her mother Josefa

Dolores is an intelligent, curious, and cheerful ten-year-old girl from our town of Santiago Atitlán. Her favorite things in the world are books, her family, English class, and chocolate. 

Dolores comes from a family of artisans and farmers with very limited financial resources, and she is the youngest of her sibilings. Her two brothers are eighteen and twenty years old and are currently working on the family's farm. Her three sisters, who are eleven, thirteen, and fifteen years old, and they dedicate their time to making Mayan artisan crafts to help support their parents. 

Dolores is one of the most faithful participants in Cojolya's activities, to which she always comes to participate with her mother who is an artisan for the organization. Dolores says that she has learned a lot at Cojolya and feels like she is a part of the association. Moreover, she loves the camera and adores being photographed during our special events. She is a very curious and participative child, actively engaging in our extra-curricular activies as much as she engages in her schoolwork. 

Sadly, Dolores's family does not share her opinion about the importance of education and, as a result, prevented her five older siblings from going to school. It is an unfortunate reality that the value of education is not universally accepted, especially in the most rural parts of Guatemala. The decision to push children to work instead of furthering their education has a practical rationalization as most families struggle to find the economic resources to send their kids to school. 

As an association, we do not want to judge these hard choices that families make for their children, as we understand the systemic economic barriers that burden so many of the disempowered, indigenous families in Santiago Atitlán. The mentality has been this way for generations, but a majority of families are not beginning to change their views about the importance of education, putting the town on a path toward great development. 

Nonetheless, we believe that Dolores's future can be different. With the right help, she could be the first in her family to complete her school curriculum, and therefore break the barriers that have prevailed in her family for many generations. We believe that working together, there is still time to work with her and her mother to set a shared goal for her future. 

The intention behind the Mano a Mano Para el Desarrollo Program is, in part, to offer a platform where we as a community can reflect upon and be more aware of the value of education as a key to grow toward social mobility. 

With your generous DONATION, we could afford to continue our work and help Dolores and many other young girls in her situation continue to go to school. 

Dolores sits in the front row in a green guipil
Dolores sits in the front row in a green guipil
Dolores stands next to her older sister Pascuala
Dolores stands next to her older sister Pascuala
Jul 3, 2018

Mano a Mano : The Computer's Access Initiative

Kids after receiving their annual school supplies
Kids after receiving their annual school supplies

After analyzing the data that we collected through our qualitative investigation in the year of 2017, we were able to identify the main problems related to the high level of school drop outs here in Santiago Atitlán. Along with a lack of role models and external support, we found that the financial barrier was the most predominant obstacle for school attendance. On account of this, we have evaluated the main components of this financial issue to better understand which school-related costs are the heaviest for the families to bear. As of now, we have begun to work on some potential long-term solutions, and we are monitoring their repercussions carefully. 

One of the biggest financial challenges for the families of Cojolya was the annual cost of Internet and printing, along with the accessibility of a computer itself. With that in mind, we decided to create a program located in Cojolya’s office that grants FREE access to two computers with Internet connection, color printing machines, and a copying machine, available for all children taking part in the Mano a Mano program.

 This initiative was officially launched in January 2018, and has since helped to reduce the educational fees of 9 different children. So far, only the first annual trimester’s data has been analyzed (from January to March), and we are confident that the number of participants and rate of participation will continue to grow. Furthermore we have evaluated that over the past three months alone, families of the association have saved approximately 1,700 Quetzals (aprox. $245 US) on computer usage and printing!

The cost of school supplies was also a sizeable financial burden for the families. At the beginning of 2018, in addition to increasing computer and printing accessibility, we started offering scholar tutorship and material support. We have also distributed supplies from collected donations, thereby covering 50% of the school supply fees for all 9 of the children who participated.

We are very proud of what our program has been able to accomplish in so little time, but we continue to dream bigger for our program and our children! For the year 2018-2019, our wish is to make this program even more accessible by offering our children larger time slots for computer usage under the presence of José, our full-time coordinator. Additionally, with your support, we hope to cover 100% of the material supplies fees for all children of Cojolya within next year.

We are forever grateful for your support.

Please consider donating to make our computer’s access initiative stronger!

To learn more about the Mano a Mano program, read our report HERE, or check out our WEBSITE.

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.