Newsletter December 2008

Independance day with live music by the Básico band Bendición de Dios
On the 14th September, independence day was celebrated all over Guatemala.  All schools parade proudly through the streets, lead by the elected “Misses” of the school. The newly-formed band of Bendición de Dios’s High school supported the event with some nice tunes.
Congratulations to Julio and the students who, in addition to the donations they received from The Netherlands, the band members successfully collected money in order to be able to buy the musical instruments!
“Insol”, the school to educate teachers, attended by three of our scholarship students, also had a wonderful parada.  Glenda (the oldest of the three students) was honoured to carry the national flag since she is the best student in the school! 


Delicious snacks were prepared with care by the moms
During the last months of the school year, the cook of Bendición de Dios in Alotenango has been replaced by 4 enthusiastic mothers of children from the kindergarten. Thanks to them, all children received a delicious snack (bread with beans, soup, a fruit cocktail, tortilla with tomatoes and cheese). Next year one of these ladies will officially be appointed as cook.
Bon appétit!



Help for 6 families in Santa Catarina after excessive rainfall.
Also this year the rainy season brought a lot of damage to Guatemala. At different locations throughout the country, houses were flooded or became inhabitable because of the mud streams. In a small village called Santa Catarina, more than 6 families and their children temporarily had to leave their home because the houses were at risk to collapse due to the heavy rain. A shelter was provided by the community however there were no food supplies nor were there any facilities to cook. Los Niños donated bags with rice, beans, sugar and other basic ingredients to offer at least some comfort during these grim days.  




Wanted: Young-at-heart, extraverted and motivated staff members as Ambassadors
Los Niños is looking for Ambassadors or representatives of Los Niños from the different regions in The Netherlands and Belgium. We definitely need someone for the areas Limburg, the eastern part of The Netherlands and the province Zuid-Holland (main city Rotterdam). The reason is that, we often receive requests from organisations or schools who want to raise funds for us, to send someone from Los Niños to explain something about our foundation, to receive a cheque or to help organise an event or activity. A new information package will be ready by the beginning of 2009.
Need more information?  Please send a mail to:

New school, for 80% ready!!
The build up of the new school progresses rapidly! Already 80% of the construction is completed and after that the furnishing, decorating and the finishing touches will follow. Some nice details:
- The banisters consist of 3 parts at different heights to ensure that smaller and bigger children as well as adults can easily hold on to it.
- The 4 classrooms at the ground floor can be opened up and be transformed info 2 larger auditoriums where  gatherings, parties and presentations can be held.
- From the first floor there is a beautiful view of the volcanoes Fuego, Acatenango and Agua.  It is absolutely worthwhile to come and have a look!


Opening of new school
At Wednesday 15th July 2009 the official opening will take place. This date is a bit symbolic as the cooperation between Los Niños and Bendición de Dios began on 15th July 2003. Therefore this day will be a double anniversary.

A travel agency (which is just starting up) operated by 2 enthusiastic women (who also visited Guatemala) offered their help in trying to arrange cheap tickets for anyone who wants to attend the opening of the new school. For those of you who already know for sure that they will come, please let us know ASAP and we will put you in contact with this travel agengy.  inform us asap and we will bring you in contact with this travel agency. We can also arrange inexpensive accommodations for you in Antigua. 

Four  day march of Marlous en Rob

Marlous and Rob have proven that a sponsorship can be really successful. After they visited an information session of Los Niños they were so enthusiastic that they decided to raise funds by walking on a four-day march. Marlous walked 4x40 km and Rob walked 4x50 km. The blisters on their feet were not in vain as they raised an amazing amount of 7500 euro. EXCELLENT! In consultation with the two of them it was decided to spend the donation on 500 m2 floor tiles in the new school. Their intention is to come and help out Los Niños for a few months during the course of 2009.



Welcome to the world Zoe! (daughter of Heidi-coordinator of the volunteers)
On Friday 7th November, Zoe was born in Guatemala, a beautiful Dutch-Peruvian baby girl. Heidi, the former coordinator of the volunteers at Los Niños and her Peruvian boyfriend Rafael are extremely happy and very proud. All three are doing well. Congratulations to the proud parents.



Extension scholarship of secondary education
Next year, better educated teachers will start working at the secondary school in Alotenango, Regalo del Cielo and so,  consequently the tuition for the students will become a bit more expensive. Los Niños will help finance the additional costs. Of the 50 students who are already participating in one of the educational projects, (1st or 2nd secondary year or part of the homework counseling program) will receive half a scholarship. Of the monthly tuition of 12,50 euro, Los Niños will pay 6 euro per student. This approach will ensure that part a part of the tuition payment will be the responsibility of the students.

Luis Angel and Brayan graduated from primary school
Thanks to the scholarship fund of Los Niños, the children of the families Montiel and Dubon have received a good private education during the last 6 years. Luis Angel and Brayan obtained their diploma with dedication (in a robe!) and will continue their studies at the secondary school next year! But first....a well deserved holiday!


Thanks, webmasters Jeroen and Maurice!
Are you also satisfied about the newsletter and the website? The employees of Los Niños certainly are! Thanks Jeroen and Maurice for your continuous, fast and professional help to solve our smaller and larger local internet problems, to send our newsletters and manage our website. We hope that we will also be able to count on your valuable support in 2009! CHAPEAU!!

Supporting a new project “Semilla de Esperanza y Amor” by appointing volunteers and enabling computer lessons
Los Niños is supporting a new project! We attended the festive ceremony of the 1st year anniversary of this small but very sophisticated project. Since November 2008, 20 children of the project “Semilla de Esperanza y Amor” (seed of hope and love) are able to attend computer lessons twice a week, thanks to a donation of Los Niños. The project is in San Mateo, a small village just outside Antigua. Together with her 2 teenage daughters of 11 and 15, the Guatemalan Manageress Lys, provides for the children of the village by helping them with their homework, giving them typing lessons, setting up handicraft activities, and much more. According to Lys, however, the future lies in IT and in speaking English. This is the reason that Los Niños is helping her (together with some others) to raise funds for setting up computer lessons in Antigua.  In addition, Los Niños is appointing volunteers to teach English or creative courses like horticulture. More information will follow soon, and so keep an eye on our website.

Small scale chicken project in San Mateo
It was wonderful to have 4 young people (3 of 13 and 1 of 17 years old) come over for a visit and tell their story about starting a chicken project with much passion. These 4 youngsters from the project Semilla de Esperanza y Amor would love to go to secondary school. They are working at a bakery to earn some money to be able to pay for school. The baker told them that they are not allowed to work anymore once they go to school. Because all four of them really want to go to school and still need to work, they refuse to give up without a fight. With a loan of 400 euro they can raise 200 day-old chicks which can be sold at 6 weeks. They put the whole plan on paper and calculated everything well. It was very moving to see how well they have thought their project  through and how much passion they were express.. Therefore we handed them, with great pleasure, a cheque of 400 euro to enable them to make the necessary preparations. The deadline for them to pay back the 400 euro is set for August 2009.


Current situation of children in Guatemala
While on 1st October other countries celebrate “the day of the child” with cake and presents, the Guatemalan children spend this day working, feeling hungry or in a hospital due to poor nutrition and care. According to the United Nations, 49% of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition, 12,1% of all children younger than 12 are working and 44 of every 1000 children will die before the age of 5. Although 96,3% of the children went to primary school during the last 10 years, the number of dropouts after the first year is enormous, as well as the number of children that need to repeat the year. And we shouldn’t forget that only 36% of the children graduating from primary school will continue their studies in secondary school. Only 20% will take the step to a specialised education and only 1% will go to university.

Closing school year Chimachoy
Mid-November we drove for the fourth year in a row into the mountains to visit our education project in Chimachoy. The parent committee organized a grand closing of the school year. A lot of mothers spent the last days cooking to welcome the visitors of Los Niños with a great meal. Ten students (7 boys and 3 girls) graduated from this secondary school and thus received their diploma. A generous donation given right there by one of the visitors that came along, will allow 5 students to continue their studies for the coming 3 years if they meet the academic requirements of the continution school.  Every family was extremely happy with the donated Christmas baskets which were filled with food.


The only thing remaining is to thank everyone who, in one way or the other, supported Los Niños. It is truly heart- warming that so many devoted people are involved with the work of  Los Niños. We hope that we can count on your continuous support in 2009.

We wish you all a pleasant, and maybe even a white Christmas, and a beautifull 2009 in good health.
May 2009 be a year where many nice things happen.

Team Guatemala:
Virginie en Ana-Maria