Grand opening of the new school in Alotenango
July 15 2009


We are so proud to send to you the newsletter of the grand opening of the new school in Alotenango.  Our most sincere gratitude to SKG, Stichting Kinderprojecten Guatemala, with whom we have worked in close collaboration. SKG generously paid 50% of the cost of the new building, and they have promised to pay 50% of the school's annual cost of operations for the next five years!. Wolter Sillevis Smitt, President of SKG, travelled to Guatemala with his family to attend the school's grand opening.

Here, are a few impressions of the grand opening day of celebration, written by Wolter Sillevis Smitt: 


“On the 14th of July, the day before the grand opening, we paid a visit to the new school in Alotenango. I was astonished as soon as I caught sight of the building. Seeing the SKG-logo on the fence as well as on the children's T-shirts suddenly made it all very real to us. All the work that has been accomplished over the past few years has now culminated in this amazingly-beautiful school building that has been smartly-designed to bring in natural light that gives the building an airy and inspiring atmosphere.  The kids have every right to be very-very proud of what they can now call ‘their school'. We were able to have a detailed look around while witnessing the last preparations such as paintings being hung, and putting up many colourful decorations, and it was great to watch the final rehearsals of the songs and the play that would be performed the following day.” 


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On the next day – July 15th – the day we have all been looking forward to for such a long time, the sky was bright blue and the sun continued to shine.

gemeenschapshuis julio AM&Virginie

Hundreds of children and their families, along with our teachers and volunteers, all gathered in the town hall.  The atmosphere was perfect: as the children, dressed in colourful, traditional costumes, gathered on stage.  The hall was decorated with palm leaves, woven cloths, hundreds of balloons, while typical Guatemalan marimba music played in the background. As our honoured guests, we were very pleased to receive Els Van Rossen, delegate from the board of Los Niños -  Holland, the Dutch Ambassador to Guatemala, and the Mayor of Alotenango, and in our midst as well, were a large number of invited friends and acquaintances from Guatemala and abroad.


The ceremony commenced as the flags from Guatemala and Holland were both brought onto the stage, carried by several children, while both national hymns were played; this became a very emotional moment for us all! Next, there were a few speeches and words of gratitude, all emphasizing the important opportunities that were being created through by the opening of the marvellous new school.  Now, the children can attend school in a fantastic and beautiful building, which will inspire them to study hard, and allow them to recognize the opportunities they are being given – a chance to build a future, and to become future leaders of beautiful Guatemala. After speeches and presentations were made, architect Knut Jauer, Wolter Sillevis Smitt of SKG, Los Niños, and the school principal, Julio Cesar Garcia, were all rewarded with a resounding applause and a special gift.  A final dance and play by the children made the party complete,


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but then followed a large parade through the streets of Alotenango heading off toward the new school past streets that had also been decorated with palm leaves and were ‘paved' with fragrant pine needles, while balloons and little flags signalled the way to the new school.  The decorations made everything feel and look like a fairy tale village. Upon arrival at the school, the ribbon was cut by the eldest student, Florentin, and the youngest student, Sandra. 

Onthulling naam
The president of SKG, unveiled the name of the new schoolbuilding: Centro Educativo Guate Niños Melanjoco.; then finally, the moment had come for the parents and children to have a look around the building. The children sat in their  classroom chairs to demonstrate their class in-action' to everyone who passed by. Fortunately, their class ‘demonstration' didn't take very long before it was time for them to enjoy a special party bag containing a sandwich, a soft drink, and a package of cookies.


Clown1 Clown2
The street in front of the school was filled with happy children as they feasted on all the snacks and sweets while three wonderful, hilarious clowns made everyone laugh.  



The proud and happy smiles displayed on the faces of  everyone, spoke louder than words possibly could, and as backdrop, the Volcano of Fire – so clearly visible from the school -- suddenly emitted a large plume of smoke, as if to contribute to our  happiness and lend its approval to all the day's events. Finally, the celebration ended after a display of fireworks (organized by Julio) and made our day of joy and celebration complete.  It was a perfect day in all ways…

In the evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner in a local restaurant, together with many people that supported our work over the past year.  This evening's event became the perfect and final end to a day that could not have been more perfect!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  One-thousand thank you's to all of you who worked to make the dream of the new school  in Alotenango a reality. Without your important support, none of this great day would have come to pass. 

Team Guatemala
Virginie en Ana-Maria

p.s. take a look at our speciale photoalbum with much more pictures of the grand opening.