Life-changing preschool in Guatemala

by Maya Childcare, Inc.
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Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala
Life-changing preschool in Guatemala

Meet Ana, one of our new students at Acorn Childcare Center this year! Ana is 2 years old and lives with her 5 year old brother and both parents, Vanesa and Elmer, a couple that is a bit different than other families at the Acorn Childcare Center. They are a family that has more education and supposedly more job possibilities than many other families at the Center, but they fell on hard times during the pandemic and as a result sought our support. This is a clear example of how the pandemic has drastically affected the economy and livelihoods of so many families in Guatemala, hurting both the poor and middle class alike. 

Vanesa and Elmer were both students slowly working their way through university but 5 years ago, when their son was born, they had to dedicate their time to finding work. Elmer works as an independent credit card salesman for the bank but has had months without sales or income as a result of the pandemic. In addition, due to the pandemic, Vanessa lost her job as an office assistant, and they suddenly found themselves in a very difficult situation trying to provide for their two children. 

Vanesa and Elmer tell us that the food stipend they receive from our Center has been incredibly helpful for their family, allowing them to purchase nutritious food for their children. Vanesa and Elmer also love the online classes that Ana receives each day. The videos and lessons have been great guides for them as parents in how to engage with their children and help Ana develop many important skills before she enters school. Vanesa said, “We knew it was important to stimulate our daughter’s development but as we are not teachers, we had no idea how to do this. But with the methodology of the Acorn Center, we are able to support our daughter’s development and use these classes as a guide. We have noticed in this short time that Ana has significantly improved her vocabulary, her confidence, and she loves singing and dancing.”

The couple enjoy working together to help Ana complete the different activities and projects for her online classes. Ana has also benefited from seeing classmates online every day and creating connections with other children her age. Even though they have never met in person, she has created a bond with the other students and teachers. 

Thank you for continuing to help us provide such important encouragement and support for this new family at the Acorn Childcare Center.

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Meet Joi, one of our new students this year. Joi is 4 years old and lives with his mother, Ana, a single mother who suffers from epilepsy. She has attacks twice a month, sometimes more depending on her stress level. Because of her epilepsy, Ana sometimes has to live with her parents so they can take care of her. Ana and Joi no longer live with Joi’s father due to his history of violence, incarceration and substance abuse.

 

When Joi was born, he was diagnosed as bow-legged. This has limited his normal physical development. Currently, he receives physical therapy twice a week to help correct his condition. They are hopeful that by the time he is 8 or 9 years old, he’ll be able to walk normally. 

 

Ana tells us that the services offered the Acorn Center have greatly helped her and Joi, her only child. Many of the daily educational videos require that the students work together with their parents and Ana tells us that these activities have helped her and Joi connect in new ways and deepen their bond. 

 

Due to the pandemic, Joi has had very little contact with other children. The daily videos help Joi connect with peers by watching each other’s videos and getting to know the other children. It is not the same as in-person socialization, but it has been a big help for him to feel a bit of a connection to other kids during this year. 

 

Also due to the pandemic, Ana is currently unemployed and she and Joi depend on the weekly food stipend that the Center provides to her family to purchase basic food. 

 

The many struggles that this family is facing are hard to imagine—it is inspiring to witness Ana’s strength and perseverance as she tries to provide a better life for her son. The Acorn Childcare Center is one of the few institutions that supports low-income families in Guatemala, and is usually the only support available for families like Ana and Joi. Thank you for your continued support!

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mayachildcare.org

New Beginnings

After a brief pause over Christmas and the New Year, school supplies and video lessons went out this week to families of students enrolled at the Acorn Childcare Center. We celebrated four children who have officially graduated and are due to start kindergarten this month: 

Daniela Monserrat is 5 years old. She has been a student at the Center for two years, experiencing a mix of in-person and at-home learning. She is very bright, loving and happy to participate in many activities, especially with her friends.

William Fernando is turning 6 next month. He only just enrolled at the start of last year. You may remember his powerful story from our July newsletter. He loved to play with his friends and participate in all activities, in the Center and at home.

Angie Ramos is 5 1/2 years old. She was enrolled in the Center when she was just two years old, thus receiving an exceptional early education here for a total of 3 years. She is a responsible student who loves to talk and socialize. 

Carlos Javier is 5 years old. He also attended the Center for two years experiencing a mix of in-person and at-home learning.  He is a very loving and sociable student. We’re confident that he is prepared to start his kindergarten year!

We will keep in touch with these friends to see how they are doing, and will offer some ongoing support if they need it during the pandemic. We’ve also enrolled four new children who are ready to receive supplies and instructional videos from our teachers. Xela is at alert level red so we will still not be able to offer in-person classes over the next few months, but our Center Director is working hard to keep up-to-date and to put everything in place so that we can safely reopen once it is allowed.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Omar Mejia, Acorn Childcare Center Director
Omar Mejia, Acorn Childcare Center Director

For more than 6 months, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the health and economic situation of people in Guatemala. Many families are wrestling with grief. No one was prepared to face this pandemic. The Guatemalan government has not been able to respond to the demand for public health services. Hospitals collapsed within the first couple of months, leaving no support for people struggling to recover.

The country has partially re-opened, but without a contingency plan. Many families have decided to start small businesses or to sell products in different areas of their town in order to have some income. They are risking their health and that of their family because there is no support from our government and hunger does not wait, rent does not wait, the need for heat and light does not wait.

Children miss their friends and teachers. They miss play spaces and reliable meals.

All of our CIB staff have been doing their part to continue providing support to our children, in a different but effective way.

We have had to adapt to a new system — preparing educational materials to be used at home, designing classes to be delivered by video — all with the hope of reducing the negative impact on the emotional well-being and educational development of children.

Virtual classes have become a highly anticipated activity for children at home. They are an indispensable resource for parents as they continue inspiring their children’s learning. Parents have become much more involved in their children's education, working day by day, hand in hand with their children. We deliver all the educational resources they need, and provide a budget for food to each family.  Our cook explains two recipes each week, helping parents to cook healthy food at home on a budget.

We have given health kits to each family to increase their defenses with various health essentials, vitamin C and ibuprofen. As the weeks go by, we realize it is likely that most will have to face the virus with their families, so we are planning next to prepare kits that contain the medicine needed to manage the symptoms of Covid-19.

As the director of our Center, I have already had to face the virus and its consequences on my physical and mental health. I am grateful for the way this helped me to fully understand the urgency of supporting those most in need, especially during such a difficult time for humanity. In my experience, the physical part of fighting the disease was very difficult but the emotional toll of facing it in isolation was also very difficult. That is why I firmly believe that it is essential that we continue to support our families, who are struggling without their stable jobs. It is essential that we offer education through virtual classes and activities, because children's development does not stop, and it is essential that our staff continues to be alert and available to support any need these families may have.

This pandemic is very real in its negative impact on local families. With your help,  we are able to continue our work to mitigate that impact and to bring hope during this difficult time. Thank you.

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You may remember Fernando-André, who started at the Acorn Childcare Center in January. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Guatemala, his mother Cinthia lost her job selling educational resources. She and Fernando moved in with her grandmother for the lock-down, because the house where they lived before was very crowded. Her grandmother was also without work or income due to the pandemic, and so they were soon unable to pay the rent and lost their home. Fortunately, her grandmother secured work as a caretaker for a school. She is not paid, but they can live there in return for cleaning and caring for the building. Cinthia has finally found work at a restaurant, helping to co-ordinate and deliver food to people at home. She is paid less than the minimum wage, but any income is better than nothing.

 The economic impact of the pandemic in Guatemala has been devastating. In the streets near the Acorn Childcare Center people hold white flags to show that they are hungry and in need of food. There is so little work available that many people are left with no alternative but to beg in the streets. Government aid does not seem to be reaching the people that need it most. 

Fernando misses his friends at the Acorn Childcare Center, and the comfort of a caring place with regular wholesome meals, but the resources provided by the Center and the daily videos give him something to hold onto. Every morning he asks, “What activity am I going to do with my teachers today?”. The food allowance from the Center has helped him to stay healthy and the connection she has with the Center gives Cinthia hope for their future. She is deeply grateful. We want to sincerely thank you for your part in sustaining families like Fernando’s through such difficult times.

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Organization Information

Maya Childcare, Inc.

Location: Falmouth, MA - USA
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Project Leader:
Rachael Rhude
Falmouth, MA United States
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