Support Early Literacy for Children In Guatemala

by Las Manos de Christine
Vetted
Student Reading
Student Reading

Books From New York

By Alejandra Shoc - Librarian

The Children, teachers, and volunteers at El Hato have been thrilled to receive the beautiful and intricate stories that the students of Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York have lovingly created for our students. This amazing work they do every year for us inspires the children, and they are fascinated by the originality and imagination of the books.
This cultural exchange is very important for the children as it opens up their minds to a whole new world out there. They feel special and comforted that there are people in other countries thinking of them and dedicating so much time and effort to brightening their lives through literature and art.
Each book is unique, some telling personal stories about their own lives, some stories about other people's lives, some covering their favorite soccer teams, and some imaginative and artistic fables about finding a lost pet unicorn. It's amazing to see the detail and the hard work that has gone into each book, and it's inspiring for the children to see such unique, outside-the-box thinking. It's something that the children need to see the importance of; having your own individual, different view on aspects of life. Developing your own ideas and putting energy and hard work into them is a vital skill that Guatemala's future generations need to master and accomplish in order to be key players in the positive development of their local community on a smaller scale, and of their country on a grander scale. Such an outlook on the world will allow them to make strong, and more importantly, correct decisions in life that will have a positive effect their surroundings. 
Each week, after class, the children have the opportunity to attend an art class. It's during this time that we try to stimulate the minds of each child, and encourage creative thinking. Just by starting small, and with enough support and confidence, a child can go from expressing their artistic minds on paper to becoming an original and inspiring citizen of Guatemala in practice. That is our goal.
If you would like to know more about the books that we received, then please let us know. Email us here. If you would like to donate to us to help fund the after class art program, then please follow this link.
-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

 

The Greeting Card Scholarship Project

 

Many children living in El Hato are unable to attend school beyond the sixth grade. Tuition is costly and parents depend on their children to cook, tend to siblings, gather firewood, and earn what they can working. School represents both a cost and lost income.

 

The Greeting Card Scholarship Project allows students to earn while they learn, funds scholarships to defray the cost of fees and tuition, and provides resources for instruction. Participating students handcraft cards as thank you gifts to donors.

 

 

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Tania and Thalia are both 2nd year scholarship students in third grade.

 

A Message for You



Dear Friends and Donors,

 

It has been moving to see how much your support means. Last year, donors like you made it possible for eight students to begin or continue their education through the Greeting Card Scholarship fund, and for 18 student artists to contribute to their family’s income through the card making groups.

 

This year, with your support, nine students have been awarded scholarships; two are newly enrolled and in school for the first time; four are second year scholarship students attending the third grade; two are now in their second year of middle school; and one is in high school. The Greeting Card Scholarship fund has also provided a much-needed academic tutor three days per week and crucial supplies for the year.

 

 

Meet Walder

 

by Salina and Alejandra

 

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A few years ago, a friend from Safe Passage introduced me to Walder. My friend happened to have land near El Hato and Walder’s father was the caretaker of his land, but he would regularly send Walder to work in his place. After some time, my friend got to know Walder. Walder was a straight A student all through elementary school and dreamed of continuing his studies, but due to financial stress, his family was not in the position to support his education and he was sent to work in the fields instead. My friend came to me and asked if we have a program to help teens like Walder. At the time our focus was primarily on preschool and elementary education and we did not have a program to support teens after they graduated 6th grade, but we decided to give it a try.

 

In 2015, Walder became our first scholarship student. He could continue working during the week while he studied on Saturdays. Walder is a shy, hardworking, and dedicated student. He is the third of five siblings. His father is a gardener and his mother takes care of the house. Walder’s earnings supplement the family income.

 

He dreams of one day completing high school and finding employment with a company in Antigua which would allow his family to sell the products they grow, which are flowers, corn, and beans.

 

Walder enjoys playing soccer in his free time and his favorite class is natural science because he gets to learn about the world and learn more about his country.

 

 

Meet Marta

 

by Alejandra and Salina

 

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Marta is 17 years old and is studying in her first year of high school. Marta is the oldest of eight children. Her mother cares for the house and her father is a mason, which is the village trade, and work is always scarce.

 

Marta hopes to find work as a bilingual secretary after she graduates. She hopes she will have a good job with an honest company which will allow her to help her parents and help pay for her siblings to continue their studies. In Marta’s free time, she likes to practice English and she enjoys art. She keeps a folder of her favorite drawings, her portfolio. Marta sees art as a way to express her thoughts and feelings.

 

Marta’s favorite classes are English, Computer, and Social Science. She knows she is developing skills that will serve her well once she enters into her profession.

 

Marta is always wearing a smile, eager to learn, and willing to help out her classmates. She is a bright, creative, and caring.

Meet Luis

by Alejandra and Salina

 

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Luis is eighteen years old and is in his second year of middle school. His father abandoned the family when Luis was seven years old, and ever since he has joined his mother and sister in providing financially. Luis’s mother cleans houses for a living and Luis works in an artisan’s shop in Antigua. Luis is the second oldest of five siblings.

 


In the little spare time he has, he enjoys playing soccer with his friends. He dreams of continuing his studies through university and becoming a (much needed) doctor in his village. His favorite subject is math.

 

Your donations help this program continue to grow and in turn help these students blossom into hard working, enthusiastic and intelligent individuals. Thank you so much and please keep supporting us!

 

 

 

 

 

The 2016 school year has begun in Guatemala. We would like to welcome Adriana Chacon to our teaching team. She will be providing support to our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who have special learning needs.

 

To support our growing class of young adults entering primary school, we are adding tutoring and resources specific to the continuing education courses held on Saturdays.

 

We are very happy to hear that almost the entire graduating 6th grade class from 2015 will continue on to middle school, where in previous years the numbers have been closer to half.

 

We would also like to congratulate our 2015 interns, Gladys and Delmi, for continuing on to university!

La lectura y escritura son herramientas indispensables en la vida de todo ser humano y aunque parezca increíble El Hato todavía es una comunidad que lucha contra el analfabetismo estando apenas a diez minutos de la Antigua Guatemala una de las principales ciudades del país.

Por analfabetismo, falta de interés y lo caro que resulta para las familias comprar un libro en vez de comida, Las Manos De Christine tomó la iniciativa de crear una biblioteca que sea accesible no solo para estudiantes sino para la comunidad en sí.

El año pasada gracias a las donaciones recibidas y la ayuda de varios voluntarios se comenzó con una clasificación de libros de forma fácil y sencilla para que todos sepan utilizarlos, y hoy, la biblioteca no solo cuenta con libros de donaciones recibidas por parte de Las Manos de Christine sino también cuenta con libros y donaciones de libros que recibe la escuela José Ignacio Ortiz Vides.

De esta manera y con una organización que diferencia los libros de la escuela con los libros de Las Manos, la biblioteca ha crecido enormemente y beneficiando a todo aquel que de ella necesita.

Dentro de las actividades que en la biblioteca se realizan están el préstamo de libros, préstamo de computadoras para investigación, préstamo de enciclopedias y libros de investigación, clases de inglés, clases bibliotecarias, arte, préstamo de juegos y juguetes, talleres, voluntariado, entre otros.

Gracias a los donadores y voluntarios extranjeros y nacionales podemos presumir de una biblioteca debidamente organizada y en crecimiento.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

The Library!!!

Reading and writing are indispensable tools for all people and although it might seem incredible, El Hato is still a community that struggles against illiteracy even though it is only ten minutes from Antigua, one of the main cities of Guatemala.

Because of illiteracy, lack of interest and the high cost of buying books when families can barely afford to buy food, Las Manos de Christine took the initiative in creating a library that is accessible not only to students but also to the community itself.

Last year, thanks to donations received and to the help of various volunteers, we introduced a new method of classifying the library books. Easily implemented, everyone knows how to use this simple method. Now the library not only has books donated to Las Manos de Christine but also houses the books of and donated directly to the El Hato public school, José Ignacio Oritz Vides.

The system incorporates a way to distinguish the books owned by the school from those owned by Las Manos, and so has grown enormously, benefitting everyone who needs it.

The library is now the center of many activities, including: the lending of books; the lending of computers for research; the lending of encyclopedias and other reference works; English classes; library classes; art projects; the lending of games and toys; workshops; etc. It also serves as the headquarters for the activities of volunteers.

Thanks to the donors and volunteers, both foreign and local, we can boast a properly-organized and growing library.

Maria is the mother of eleven children. With the exception of her eldest son, who attends the IGER program on Saturdays, her children do not attend school. She dreams that one day her daughters will have the opportunity to the education she never had. She made a promise to her daughters that when the family has the means, she would work to get them into school one by one, oldest first.

For the past few months Delmi, our Library Assistant, has been teaching seven of Maria’s school age daughters how to read and write. They meet at Delmi’s home three mornings per week to study. After visiting Delmi’s class and talking with Maria, we began the process of getting the girls registered for school.

Registering a child for school sounds simple, but can be quite a challenge for an illiterate mother with limited means. The Ministry of Education requires a newly issued birth certificate and the process for acquiring one involves cash for various fees and copies, proof of birth from literate witnesses, and several trips to the Office of Vital Records.

We were successful in obtaining the proper documents for five of Maria’s seven daughters who want to be and should be in school. We’re still working on getting documents for two. The four oldest sisters have special permission to start the IGER program this week, in time for the second semester. They will attend school on Saturdays and continue working with Delmi a few days per week in her house. The three younger sisters can’t officially start first grade at the El Hato primary school because they missed the cut off for registration by several months, but Paty, the Director, has given them permission to attend class off the record and get acclimated so they’ll be ready to start officially next year.

The cost for a student to attend the IGER Saturday program for teenagers and young adults is $135 per year, which is only $11.25 per month. This includes inscription fees, text books, and uniform. Please consider sponsoring a student monthly or donating to our new Scholarship Fund!

 

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Organization Information

Las Manos de Christine

Location: Antigua, Sacatepequez - Guatemala
Website: http:/​/​www.lasmanosdc.org/​
Project Leader:
Salina Duncan
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala

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