Educate 300 Guatemalan Children

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Educate 300 Guatemalan Children
Naomy, one of the children in our becas programme.
Naomy, one of the children in our becas programme.

In late 2021, the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, announced that in-person classes would recommence in February of 2022. After almost two whole years of children studying from home, or not at all, it caused a huge amount of excitement. It seems, however, that there is still one last sting in the tail for the children of Guatemala. This week it was announced that hybrid classes would not be permitted in municipalities that are currently designated as red – meaning that they have the highest level of COVID-19. For our children here in Sacatepéquez it seems that school will have to wait for a bit longer as all but one municipality currently sits in the red zone.

In the meantime, we have been working hard to find the best ways to support our students. We established early on in the pandemic that study guides and WhatsApp messages were not helpful for our children and certainly not conducive to learning. Many children lacked the internet to receive messages, work and support, and could not send their work to the school. Others live in illiterate households where nobody can support their children with their study guides, or even read what is required to do.

For the past few months we have been working hard to plan our strategy for the upcoming year. With schools once again suffering a setback it looks certain that we will not be able to open and run as a school as we did before. That isn’t to say, however, that we have no plans to invite our children in and support them. We are looking to run catch-up classes and tutoring alongside children’s schooling, as well as creating dynamic videos to teach the national curriculum. We are also looking to open up our school to allow access to computers and internet so that our children will finally be able to receive and complete the work they have been set.

Furthermore, through our ‘becas’ (scholarship) programme, each of the children in our list of participants will receive a monetary sum every month to support them with school fees, school supplies, uniform and household needs. This amount is calculated based on each individual child’s socioeconomic needs, with children in lower socioeconomic situations receiving more support and those who are in a better situation receiving slightly less. This monetary sum is not a given, however. The children are required to comply with our pre-requisites in order to receive the support, including making sure that they have good grades and do not fail any of their classes. We hope that this will motivate the children into working as hard as possible to ensure that they have a positive future as well as to receive the financial support from us.

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

Brayan, another child who will receive a beca.
Brayan, another child who will receive a beca.
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As the closure of schools in Guatemala reaches and passes 18 months with no sign of opening any time soon, the children of Guatemala have suffered greatly due to COVID-19. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, as the vaccination programme is beginning for children over 12 years old with the aim of getting children back to school. As the school year ends in October, though, it is likely that schools will not open until early 2022.

One of our students currently waiting for the schools to reopen is 13-year-old Otilia, a student in the Etapas Programme in 2020. Otilia did not have the chance to study when she was younger and so is now catching up with us. In 2021 she is in 6th grade having almost caught up to her age group.

Otilia lives with her sister and mother in Vista Hermosa, right next to the Scheel Center School. Her mother is originally from Joyabaj, Quiché. Their native language is Quiché and it is sometimes difficult for Otilia and her family to express themselves in Spanish. Otilia has another sister who lives in Ciudad Vieja with her partner. This is quite far away from Jocotenango and so Otilia does not get to see her sister very often. Otilia’s father abandoned the family when she was a baby and has never been a part of her life.

The family’s house is made up of two small buildings. One is made from sheet metal and the other is a ‘Casa Azul’, a house built by the Project. Some wooden parts of their house have been burnt, however. The family uses a latrine because they do not have a bathroom in the house. They use firewood to cook their food and Otilia shares a bed with her sister. The house is on a steep slope and during the rainy season is at risk of landslides and flooding.

Otilia’s mother makes tortillas and watches parked cars in the streets of Antigua at night. She earns around Q320 ($40) a month. Otilia and her family do not always have enough money to be able to eat three times a day. Their mother takes any work she can to earn money to feed her children.

The Project has worked hard to support Otilia and her family. In addition to building her a house, Otilia’s mother regularly receives vegetables from our distribution to make sure that the children do not go hungry. Otilia has also received clothes and school supplies which she and her family could not afford to buy. This year we provided Otilia and her family with a new woodburning stove. The stove uses 50% less firewood meaning that the family can save money and use it for their other necessities.

Otilia has ambitions for the future and would like to be either an actor or a teacher when she graduates university. She would like to be a teacher because she likes to teach children to read or an actor who stars on television. She also wants to help her mother with the household costs and to provide a better life for her family.

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It has been more than a year since the Guatemalan government closed all schools as a precaution to fight COVID-19. In that past year it has been extremely tough for the children of Guatemala to continue their education from home, with many unable to access the resources they need to be able to study at home.

At the beginning of 2021 we made the difficult decision to keep our schools closed for the year.  We believed that restrictions on schools were not going to be lifted for a long time - something which has become apparent as we are six months into the year with no sign of opening anytime soon - and that our children’s needs would be better suited going to schools closer to home. There are many children in our schools who live a long way away from the school and found it difficult to access transport to come in to collect study guides last year. We haven’t abandoned our schoolchildren, however, as we have a scholarship programme to cover their school fees for this year.

Emiliano and his sister Angelina have studied at our Dreamer Center School for a number of years now. This year they are studying in a school closer to their home, meaning that they do not have to spend as much time outside their house and potentially at risk. Emiliano is in second grade and his older sister Angelina is in fourth grade. Both Emiliano and Angelina were hardworking students in the Dreamer Center and this has translated over to their new school where they are continuing to get good grades and complete their work to their own high standards.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it is easy for the children to complete their schoolwork. Much of their work needs the internet to access it, a luxury that most of our former students including Emiliano and Angelina can barely afford to have. Some schools have teachers sending instruction videos via WhatsApp which many of our children have no way of accessing, meaning that the schoolwork is completely beyond their grasp. It is also hard to work with no light or electricity, something that is very temperamental in Guatemala. With no light in the house the children cannot complete their work.

Nuestros Ahijados is working hard to make the lives of our students such as Emiliano and Angelina easier and to take away some of the stress of the pandemic from the family. Every two weeks Emiliano’s mother receives a large amount of fruits, vegetables and other foods such as pizza, sardines and flour to make tortillas. This not only helps to feed the family but also allows the money the family has saved to be used for other things such as internet access, photocopies and school supplies. We have also been giving a number of families solar-powered lamps so that in case of a blackout or light bill not being paid the families are still able to continue their learning. Emiliano’s mother told us that the lamp has been a lifesaver. Finally, through our sponsorship programme we were able to provide Emiliano and Angelina with some much-needed school supplies, as well as a colouring book for their younger sister so that she could take part in study sessions with her older siblings.

Even though our schools are closed this year we still consider the children and families to be a vital part of our project. That means we continue to work hard to ensure that they have what they need and get a fighting chance at success. The rest is up to them, and we are delighted that many children are like Emiliano and Angelina and are working hard to give themselves a better education and future.

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Jímena García and her older siblings Diana and Marcelo have been students of our Dreamer Center School for a number of years now. Last year Jímena was in second grade, her sister Diana in third grade and her brother in fourth grade. Jímena’s oldest brother, Ludwin, was also a student of our Dreamer Center School before moving up to the Scheel Center. The children’s mother is well-known at the school as well, having spent time working in the kitchen to help feed all the hungry schoolchildren.

 

The past year was extremely difficult for the García family, not only due to the pandemic which has damaged the lives of so many, but also for a number of tragedies that befell the family. However, the children never stopped working hard for their education, knowing that it is the only route they have to a better future.

 

In mid 2020 Jímena and her family were informed that they would be made homeless after they were told to leave the house and land that they had occupied for a number of years. This came as a complete shock to the family, as they had been model occupants. Jímena’s father immediately began to look for somewhere new to live, asking the local municipality for assistance to find a piece of land to build a new house on. The GOD'S Child Project also supported the family, providing them with food, clothes, and toys as well as their education whilst the family were searching.

 

Thankfully, the family were able to find a piece of land not too far away from their home and began building with the materials from their previous home. They were struck, however, by another tragedy when Jímena’s uncle was hospitalised after being robbed and attacked in the street. Once again the family’s life was put on hold as they nursed their uncle back to health.

 

Throughout all this time the children continued to work hard with their schoolwork, collecting the workbooks from the school and completing them to their usual high standard. Even when the world seemed to be pushing against them they persevered and ensured that they never missed a step with their education. The Project's social workers kept checking in on the family to make sure they were managing well. All the children successfully passed their classes and were able to move on to the next grade in 2021.

 

This year the family are in a much better situation. Our Dreamer and Scheel Center Schools are closed in 2021 due to the pandemic but The GOD’S CHILD Project is providing scholarships for every child who studied with us in 2020 so that they can continue to receive an education. The children are in their new schools and continuing to make good progress. We are continuing to support the whole family to make sure they are well, learning and happy.

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In November 2019, 6-year-old Jesus and his older brother Angel, 7, entered in to our Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children weighing 30 lbs. (13 kg) and 42 lbs. (19 kg) respectively. This was Jesus’s second time in Casa Jackson, and the first for Angel. They were both severely malnourished and at serious risk of long-term health problems. Their mother, Leidy, was doing her best to take care of them but did not have enough money to be able to buy the food the children desperately needed to survive.

 In January 2020, having successfully recovered from malnutrition, the two boys enrolled in our Dreamer Center School. Jesus was in our preschool class and Angel in first grade. The two boys were extremely excited to be able to begin their education, within eyeshot of the place where they had their lives saved from malnutrition.

 As of November 2019, Leidy has been a part of the Mother’s Club in the Project, and receives vegetables each week to help feed her children. The boys also receive two meals and a snack as part of their school day. This ensures that they are no longer at risk of malnutrition and can focus on learning, rather than on where their next meal is coming from.

 Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our two Schools are currently closed due to Governmental decree, but Angel and Jesus, like the other children in our schools, are receiving workbooks which they can do at home to make sure they do not fall behind. Jesus and Angel live with their mother, who is also a former student of ours, in Jocotenango, not too far from the school. Their house is made of sheet metal with an earth floor. Leidy makes tortillas and earns between Q30 and Q50 ($3-$6) a day.

 Jesus loves to play, especially with footballs. He also loves drawing and painting. Jesus likes to play with his big brother who he looks up to. When he grows up, Jesus would like to be a fireman because firemen are 'buenísimo!' (great!). This year in school Jesus wants to try really hard to listen to his teacher when she is talking.

 Angel loves to play, especially games where he can run around. He says that he has 'lots' of toys at his house to play with. Angel likes to play with his little brother who he takes care of when it is playtime. His favourite time in school is playtime and his goal this year is to be able to work as well as his classmates. When he grows up, Angel would like to be a police officer so that he can capture robbers.

Leidy tells us that the two boys are extremely impatient for school to start again so they can come back and see their teachers and friends. We want to keep providing them with the opportunity for a better future though education.

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Organization Information

The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
RINA LAZO
Director of Benefactor Services
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$4,700 raised of $25,000 goal
 
126 donations
$20,300 to go
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