Build a Brighter Future for 80 Kids in Guatemala

by Integral Heart Foundation Vetted since 2012 Top Ranked Site Visit Verified
Integral Heart Team Guatemala 2018
Integral Heart Team Guatemala 2018

A big hello from Guatemala,

The Integral Heart Family's Education Center in Antigua Guatemala, which serves 80 children, will be re-opening for the new school year on Monday, January 15th.

We are looking forward to a wonderful year and would like to thank you for your help thus far and also we invite you to participate in our sucess. 

We will be sending 4 newsletters this year about the progress of our school, education programs and scholarship programs which we hope you will enjoy.

With deep appreciation,

Mick Quinn & Debora Prieto
Co-founders

And all 80 Children and 5 staff of Integral Heart Family.

Antonia with Debora (co-founder IHF)
Antonia with Debora (co-founder IHF)

The end of the year approaches and our hearts are full of gratitude for such an amazing ride. There are many stories of success from the 80 children and families that are a part of our sponsorship program that we can share but today we are going to do something different.

We are often asked how we find people to help. One way is by referral and here is a story from our sponsorship program that is currently very relevant.

Amongst all the families and kids with whom we have been working for years there are those who tell their neighbors in need about us. Because of that we have new additions to our school who are not yet sponsored. Today we would like to share one of these stories.

We would like to introduce you to Antonia:

Antonia is 13 years old and lives in San Mateo Milpas Alpas, a small village located about 5 miles where our school is in Antigua. She has many siblings but lives only with one of them at her grandparent’s home. The home is also shared by one of her uncles who is only 13.

Her parents separated a long time ago and the father didn´t care anymore about their children. The case of Antonia is particularly special as she suffers from epilepsy. She needs to have her medicines on a regular basis or she can suffer from an attack. The mother did not want to deal with her and sent her to her parents home along with one of her other sons.

Now she lives with her brother Pedro, her grandparents and her young uncle. The grandfather is old and sick and therefore doesn´t work. The grandmother is in charge of the whole household and works in whatever she can: making tortillas, washing clothes, working on the seasonal harvests and so on.

She earns barely enough to feed the family and she can´t afford Antonia´s medicines.

As with the 80 children we already support at our school we would love to be able to find a sponsor for Antonia so we can at least make sure she can have her medicines and not risk an attack.

Thank you so very much to all of you for your amazing hearts, continuous support and compassion towards these wonderful children.

And, of course Happy Holidays and New Year.

Much love from your family in Guatemala: The Integral Heart team and families.

And with Mick the other co-founder
And with Mick the other co-founder
Pedro is in red.
Pedro is in red.

At the Integral Heart Foundation our work is to offer educational opportunities and to empower children who come from the most humble of homes.

This is the story of one of them; his name is Chente.

We met Chente for the first time in 2010. He and his two siblings were in a such a state that our mouths literally dropped open. There were three siblings ages 3 and 7 and Chente was the youngest one, only one and a half years old.

The father abandoned the home when Chente was born leaving behind the mother with their three children. Later on, the mother found a boyfriend who didn´t know she had children, so she decided to also abandon them in the care of the grandparents to begin a new life with her boyfriend. This is quite common in Guatemala and there are little or no public services to counteract this level of abuse.

The grandparents also had the own children living at home and hardly the means to survive and they would spend all day in the mountains picking up wood so they could sell it later and that´s how they mostly survived. Then, some their own older children had their own families with no jobs or any financial help. It was a crowded and abusive compound.

The situation was even worse since the these three siblings were at the bottom of the chain. They just spent all da alone in the house waiting for grandma to come home for wood picking and fix something to eat. Luisito, the oldest one who was seven at the time, was the one who took care of the two younger ones. Needless to say they were generally filthy severely malnourished, and Chente, in particualar was terrified of adults.

Seeing these kids was the catalyst for our kindergarten program back then which as evolved into our school program now. We began taking care of them and the family from that point on, and still today they come to our school.

Chente was very scared at the beginning and it took some months, if not years, to take pictures with him smiling.

Today he loves coming down to our school and he is a very important and happy part of our work. He has good grades in his public school education and he is participating in our reading program.

We have high hopes for him and wish him a great future. We want to appreciate all the effort of our donors throughout the years to see this happening and make possible amazing stories like the one from Chente.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Frederick Douglass

Much love to you all from all the Integral Heart Family.

Chente the day we found him in 2010
Chente the day we found him in 2010
The 3 of them on the first day we met them
The 3 of them on the first day we met them
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
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
Registration day at Carmen's nursing school
 

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Organization Information

Integral Heart Foundation

Location: Salt Lake City, UT - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.integralheartfoundation.org
Project Leader:
Mick - Integral Heart 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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