Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala

by Integral Heart Foundation
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala
This is Jackie!
This is Jackie!

Empowering children is one of our primary goals. Integral Heart Foundation is all about giving those who really strive to change and grow the right tools, environment and possibilities to shine.

In this newsletter we have the story of Jacqueline, who now, at the age of thirteen, can take charge of a full class of her peers and teach them English.

Jacqueline began in our program two years ago and we only managed to get her a sponsor four months ago. She and her younger siblings never stopped attending our school classes as they have passion for learning. They also told us that they got great benefit from our tutoring sessions with our senior students and teachers-in-training, fondly known as the ‘Isas’.

Doña Graciela, Jacqueline´s mom, is a 36 year-old divorced woman. She works making and selling tortillas and washing other people´s clothes when possible. Her oldest son, Diego, who is 18 years-old works during the week in order to help the family financially and to pay his studies as a mechanic over the weekend. He works as a mason assistant and sometimes as a helper on trash trucks.

Jacqueline has two younger siblings, Yajaira, who is 11, and Leonel who is 9. Their passion for study comes from their mom. When she was abandoned by her husband, soon after Leonel the youngest one was born, she realized that her children didn´t have to go through what she did. She hersef was abused as a child and never was sent to school. Now, as a single mother, she didn´t know how to write or how to read so she registered herself in an education program for adults where she got her high-school level diploma. She did it because she wanted to help her children with their homework so they could study and have a better future.

The mother learned about our program through our social worker, Marisol, and asked her if she could send her kids to our school. We were happy to accommodate the. Our surprise came when Jacqueline, who at that time was only 11, began speaking to us in English fluently, something very unusual for kids at that age in Guatemala.

Only four months ago we found Jacqueline a sponsor and now the whole family is benefiting from the advantages of our sponsorship program that includes a monthly basket of groceries. But the best part is that Jacqueline is playing an active role in teaching English to her schoolmates when our senior students are not available for that class. She and her sister Yajaira have conversations in English between them and we think that she can be our future English teacher for the school.

Her motto is “nothing is impossible if you want it really badly” and she is living up to that. I am sure in the future you will hear more about her from us, but for now, kudos to Jacqueline and her strength.

Integral Heart Foundation couldn´t be more grateful to all of you who make these great dreams possible. We feel really fortunate of being the bridge between such powerful hearts.

Thank you.

With her mom and her brother and food basket
With her mom and her brother and food basket
Jacqueline with her mom and younger siblings
Jacqueline with her mom and younger siblings
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
Jacqueline teaching English to her schoolmates
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Carmen working in the dump
Carmen working in the dump

Carmen´s story isn´t an easy one but it turning out to have a happy ending.

She was discovered as a child, along with her sister, working at a local garbage dump. Her job and that of her sister consisted of collecting plastics and cardboard. Their ‘employer’ in return would pay their mother around two dollars per day for the work of each of her children.

A local non-profit whose work was based in human trafficking, found and rescued them. From that point began a long journey that finally is taking Carmen to brilliance.

This non-profit put the children in their schools and the family in a rented home. It was in one of those schools, where we used to volunteer, that we first met Carmen in January of 2010. From this point we never separated. We always has a special place for Carmen, and supported her and her sister and the family as we could, which also included a tremendous amount of psychological support over the years for Carmen.

Then in 2013, the NGO that was supporting Carmen had to close the doors to its trafficking unit and the family lost all those benefits. It was at this point that we fully took over and supported the financial situation of the family always making sure that the kids had a proper education and a montly food basket.

As I mentioned at the beginning, it wasn´t an easy ride but, as it is turning out, well worth it! There were many issues with the girls self esteem, often much resistance from the mother who wanted the kids to work instead of getting education, some health crisis, always financial problems and having to move from home to home. But, we were behind them all the time. They both have been attending our after-school programs and now are attending at La Academia.

Today, and due to the generosity of many of our support during this journey, we can say very proudly, that Carmen is studying at college to be a nurse. Our dream is that we can eventually expand our own programs, to open a health clinic integrated into our school, and hire her as our Integral Heart Family nurse!!

At the Integral Heart Foundation we hope that this successful story brings a smile to your lips and tells you what an important role you are having in bringing a brighter future to our kids through your donations.

Thank you very much.

In 2010 when we met (Carmen hugging Debora)
In 2010 when we met (Carmen hugging Debora)
Shoe shopping with Carmen and her mom
Shoe shopping with Carmen and her mom
One of the houses we put them in.
One of the houses we put them in.
The girls at one of our CT workshops
The girls at one of our CT workshops
Food basket day
Food basket day
Carmen cousins Byron and Lala who are with us.
Carmen cousins Byron and Lala who are with us.
At IHF Christmas party
At IHF Christmas party
Registration day at Carmen's nursing school
Registration day at Carmen's nursing school
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The end of a most excellent year has arrived.

And we couldn´t have finished it better than with a TV special about our programs on the national Guatemalan TV -  Guatevision. Their hosts and crew filmed their Christmas special featuring our work with the kids and the families. We spent an excellent day of fun, games, food, visits, music, gifts, Santa Claus, cameras and action. The kids of our program visited, many for the first time in their lives, many different restaurants and places in Antigua as the invited guests and they felt like they were in heaven.

We will be on air on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in all the Guatemalan homes, and that for us is very important.

This was the icing on the cake of a very special year in which we finally opened our own place, we got many new sponsorships, were able to begin a deeper quality of help on the sponsored families and many more programs which include health, education programs for parents, and lots of fun.

Thank you all of you who made this possible and cheers to a New Year full of possibilities. We deeply appreciate your heart and you being a part of our family and wish you the happiest of holidays.

Much love from all of us in Guate! 

Mick, Debora, staff and children of Integral Heart!

 

[Below are some more photos from this great day]

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Marisol with her daughter Saida and her son, Jose
Marisol with her daughter Saida and her son, Jose

Communication and understanding between the staff of a charity and their sponsored families is crucial if the empowerment of the families is to be successful. 

At the Integral Heart Foundation we could not be any luckier in that regard. Our social worker and family liaison, or social warrior as we like to call her, is Marisol; a 34 year old all-terrain woman.

Marisol is the mother of three children and a grandmother of one girl. She is happily divorced and also the owner of four dogs. In addition she is both the heart and soul of our interaction with all of the families with whom we work. She also plays a significant role in the running of our school, La Academia, in Antigua.

Marisol is the motivated, reliable, responsible and loyal person we could wish for. She always said that she was very lucky to have met us, but on the contrary, we think that we are the lucky ones.

We met Marisol in March of 2010. Debora used to give talks to the moms of another local NGO on empowerment and hope. During one of those talks Marisol, who was in the audience, broke her silence and began talking, sometimes crying about the seemingly insurmountable difficulties of her life in the slum. Debora calmed her down and afterward they talked in a private session together.

Marisol´s life was something like this: She lived in a one-roomed tin shack on the side of a rough hillside slum. She was married to an alcoholic and abusive husband. They had three young children and almost no income, the little that the husband would earn was spent on drinking. After that he would come home and abuse her physically and verbally in front of her children. On occasions the kids would also get a good part of the abuse. He also had relationships with other women, and would spend part of his earnings on them and not on food or clothing for his family.

Marisol grew up in an environment where the request for help from her culture was:; “That´s God´s will, we all deal with the same thing”. But Marisol could not and did not want to understand this.

So she came to this talk for moms in the desperate hope of getting help.

That was the beginning of her relationship with us and what was to become The Integral Heart Family. At that point Debora offered her some part time work as our housekeeper. Over the first few years, and as our foundation came into being she then began to help us with that work.

Marisol, with our guidance and support, separated from her husband and finally got divorced.

Our work at that time involved many visits to our sponsored families, a process which we trained in at another charity. Marisol learned from us and began talking to the families. We soon realized that many of those mothers trusted her with more information than they would impart to us because they considered her more like a friend than us ‘gringoes’ from a NGO.

Slowly she began earning their trust and the parents began to trust us with their children who had begun attending our various programs. Marisol had a knowledge and understanding that came from her life in a slum, and she knew all the tricks that abused women use in order to deny their situations. She also knew how to respond from their perspective.

She is still learning by attending our Critical-Thinking workshops, invited guest-speaker events and by taking other outside courses. She even took the step of introducing herself to meditation. She works in many different fields, such as social work, family visits, and receiving donors and visitors. She helped paint the school rooms and cooking and we see her all the time playing with great love and care with our younger students. Now, she is teaching and giving talks herself to the students on potential, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and training to the new staff on the operations of the school.

Today Marisol is the mother figure at our school, La Academia, but also the boss; she can be strong and inflexible when needed. She manages the budgets, salaries, social visits, school times and food baskets for the families and she, and her children no longer live in that horrible slum

Below you a little more of her story through photos: 

Marisol doing home visits 2012
Marisol doing home visits 2012
Cooking at our first kindergarten 2012
Cooking at our first kindergarten 2012
With a group of students 2013
With a group of students 2013
Painting the school
Painting the school
Playtime!
Playtime!
Family food basket time
Family food basket time
Marisol learning meditation
Marisol learning meditation
Attending a guest speaker event
Attending a guest speaker event
The approach to her former home in the slums
The approach to her former home in the slums
Marisol teaching a class at La Academia
Marisol teaching a class at La Academia
With the IHF school operation team 2016
With the IHF school operation team 2016
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Playtime at La Academia
Playtime at La Academia

A big hello from Guatemala,

In this report we'd like to tell you how we are using a part of your sponsorship to provide our sponsorsed families with comforts that go beyond just a full belly. Your support also gives a sense of peace and trust and now also place where all of the families can come and forget about the hash struggles of their daily lives for a while.

Another great improvement has been the opening of our own school. Not only did this allow us to have a place where we meet the families, and where they could find us, but also an oasis, a safe container for their children to learn, to play, to share and socialize, but a safe container in which to relax and in doing so, giving and receiving love.

Our new school, La Academia is managed and operated entirely by Guatemalans - with huge hearts -and it is also a haven for all our families. At our school, each of our 60 sponsored students are well fed with a healthy and varied diet, recieve tutorial classes and are getting the chance to love reading and playing together as a one big family. And all of the children of the families are welcome, whether they have sponsors or not.

Surprisingly, what we are beginning to find out is that the kids and the students are now more and more eager to learn, grow, and to prosper. Their curiosity is expanding and this is compelling us to make more and more new materials available to them. They are beginning to love wisdom, and that is just beautiful.

There is also a room just for the parents and grandparents. Once a month we invite the adults of each of our sponsored children to come to the school to enjoy the space, to get know each other, to share their difficulties at home, with work or with relatives. We give them workshops on health, empowering women, the importance of hygiene, diet, violence (whether it is verbal, physical, sexual, or any other kind), and we play together as a big family. And, they are really loving this!!

We also have psychological help available for staff, students, teachers, parents, and relatives. All of this together is creating a wonderful and inviting atmosphere that, as an outcome, is bringing more and more people to us who are asking to be a part of The Integral Heart Family.

In short. the new addition of our own space to the foundation, is building a brighter future for all of us.

A great big thanks to all of you who for depositing your trust and funding with us to make this happen.
We wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

Book for browsing and study (Thanks to Sandra P.)
Book for browsing and study (Thanks to Sandra P.)
Study time
Study time
Senior students teaching English
Senior students teaching English
Family class on domestic violence
Family class on domestic violence
Parents at play!!
Parents at play!!
Priceless
Priceless
Day care for the weenies
Day care for the weenies
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Organization Information

Integral Heart Foundation

Location: Salt Lake City, UT - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Mick Quinn
Salt Lake City, Utah United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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