Continuing to develop previous projects and always striving to initiate new programmes, Niños de Guatemala is looking forward to a prosperous 2014. This year is an exciting year for Nuestro Futuro as it marks the first year that we will have a sixth grade class graduate, children who have been with us since their first grade. Meanwhile, El Porvenir has welcomed third graders as the oldest year group and we look forward to seeing them graduate in 2017.
We are delighted to announce that at the end of 2013 we were able to connect each of our pupils at our first school, Nuestro Futuro, with a “padrino”. Our Padrino Program links our children with external sponsors who financially support their education whilst maintaining a relationship and updates about the child´s progress. This year, we hope to realize our goal by connecting every child across our two schools with a padrino.
The impact of the Padrino Program on a child´s school experience is invaluable: having the knowledge that somebody is actively supporting their education and taking an interest in their progress motivates them to value and enjoy their school experience. Our children love the fact that somebody is encouraging them to do well, whilst having their birthday acknowledged makes them feel incredibly special. This week was the 9th birthday of Ciriaco, and not only did his padrino send him a card and birthday present, but also provided birthday cake for him and his classmates to share. The smile on his face and his humble gratitude was a magical moment for everyone, as he declared that this was “the best birthday” ever.
We are now looking for 63 new padrinos to complete our program and support our children through their education. 50$ provides monthly, on-going sponsorship of a child, and the opportunity to communicate with them.
Along with our sponsorship program, we take great importance in promoting good nutrition in our schools, and we feed our children each day, ensuring that their bodies are being fuelled with the right nutrients to keep them healthy, active and willing to learn. This nutrition program, however, costs us just over 1500$ a month to keep our Niños de Guatemala well-nourished and hydrated.
We would like to thank all our sponsors and donors who help realize our dreams here in Guatemala. Without your help it would be impossible to support our children and our projects. Without a good education and a healthy body, it would be impossible for our children to progress from an environment where there may not be as much encouragement as we have been fortunate enough to have. We need everybody’s help and support to realize our mission and offer our children the best possible future.
The school year in Guatemala starts in January and ends in October, which corresponds with the important coffee harvest season here. Our 198 students just finished another year of school, and are currently enjoying a couple of weeks vacation time before returning to our schools in November for Summer School.
Although not mandatory in Guatemala, we believe that this extra month of schooling is crucial to our students' success each academic year. During the four weeks of Summer School, students meet their new teacher for the coming school year and get settled into their new classrooms. They receive reinforcement classes on the subjects they learned in the previous grade level and start getting a "sneak peak" at concepts they will be mastering during the upcoming school year. This month is also when our new transfer students and incoming class of preschoolers will join us and start learnign the rules and norms of NDG schools.
All said, November is a BIG month for our schools and staff. Its also a big month for expenses in our organization, since we need to purchase extra suplies for each student and classroom to allow this extra month of learning. We need to purchase Q16,400 (roughly $2100) worth of school materials this month and we need your help to make sure our students get the head start on 2014 that they desperately need.
Wednesday Oct. 23 Global Giving will be matching all donations made to our organization, which will help us purchase these materials. So, for every notebook you help us purchase, Global Giving will donate a little extra for pencils.
Please, help us raise the $2100 we need to complete these purchases and finish this year of learning on a high note!
Although the main focus of Niños de Guatemala is providing educational opportunities to impoverished and at-risk children, we think the best way to keep a child in school is to engage their parents as well. We provide a variety of programs for parents of our students, such as monthly parenting classes and self-esteem groups.
One such program harnesses the eagerness of our students' mothers to help out at the school by organizing them into volunteer shifts for our kitchen. The organization benefits because we can employ a single cook to prepare roughly 500 meals a day (breakfast and lunch). The students benefit by eating the delicious, nutritious meals and enjoy seeing their moms during the day.
The mothers benefit in a variety of ways. They learn new and affordable recipes made from local ingredients, which they can later use in their homes. They have a chance to observe their children in the school setting, and get to know their friends and teachers better. Many mothers lead very isolated lives, spending most of their time at home watching young children and completing household chores. The opportunity to get out of the house and spend some time bonding with other mothers in a safe, neutral setting builds self-confidence and strengthens the community.
When you support Niños de Guatemala, you are promoting education and community bonds for not only the 300 children in our programs but also their mothers, siblings, families, neighborhoods and communities. Thank you for your support!
Our English Program has been a great success in the classroom since it was started last year. The students are thrilled to be learning a new language and miss no opportunity to practice with our international volunteers!
We believe that this program is vital to the high-quality education we offer at Nuestro Futuro and El Porvenir. An intermediate level of English is required to pass into Guatemalan secondary and higher education. Also, our students live close to Antigua, a hotspot for international tourism. If our students speak English, they are much more likely to find good paying, stable jobs in town.
The program is supervised by our full-time English coordinator and taught by long-term, English-speaking volunteers. We are extremely fortunate to have several experienced teachers volunteering with us at the moment who are great assets to the program; both in terms of the lessons they give and their input into the curriculum.
We try to make the lessons as fun and interactive as possible. Most of our classes are separated into smaller groups for lessons, so the teacher can focus on the needs of individual students; or by having two teachers separate the students into groups doing different activities at the same time. We use songs and games to help student learn vocabulary that would be too advanced to teach in a more traditional way. We also try to accommodate different types of learners in each lesson. This is done by incorporating visual, auditory and tactile activities in every lesson plan.
We believe in the importance of this program so much that English joined our core curriculum this year, and students will have their first period exams next week. The younger children will demonstrate their listening and speaking abilities whereas the top grades will also include reading and writing skills. Already, the youngest students can recognise colours, numbers and shapes; also most can participate in simple dialogues and role plays.
The vast majority of our teaching materials come from individual donations. We are very grateful for the generosity that brings them and inspired by how much they help our students learn a second language. We are always in need of more English-language posters, games, books, and activities. If you would like to help us purchase these materials, please make a donation today. We really appreciate your on-going support and look forward to sending you an update about the students’ progress later in the year.
Every day, Niños de Guatemala welcomes almost 300 of the area´s poorest children into our schools. They arrive excited to play with their friends, ready to learn about new things and always hungry for more.
Sometimes, though, we have to invest a little more than pencils and books into a child's academic success. Fernando, for example, had trouble getting to school last year. His desk would sit empty 2 or 3 days a week, while our social worker paid frequent visits to his house looking for him. His mother, busy with younger siblings and too much work, was just as surprised as we were that Fernando was not in school.
Slowly, as the year went on, Fernando started coming more often. However, without the tireless work of our social worker, psychologist, academic coordinator, and school director, Fernando would surely not have stayed in school. So far this year, Fernando has had no absences.
NDG promises to provide Fernando and all of our students with the tools they need to get the most out of every school day, but we rely on your donations to present our students with the best education possible.
March 13, your support goes further towards offering this top-notch education to very deserving children. GlobalGiving is matching all donations up to $1000 at 30%. Plus, every donation helps us compete for bonus prizes from GlobalGiving.
We´re counting on your help tomorrow. Please take a moment to donate what you can, and share this message with your family and friends. Together, we can all make a difference!
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