Newsletter December 2009

We have a NEW email address ! info@losninos.info
Please update your address book accordingly. Our team in Guatemala will only be responding to emails directed to info@losninos.info from now on. Thank you! Our old email address has not been used since September.


Hurrah ! The first 5 scholarship students of Los Niños graduated from their vocational education.
Luis Catú (coming from Instituto de Telesecundaria in Chimachoy) graduated as a motor mechanic. Luis hails from the small village of Chicazanga (pop. 700). He is the second person from his village to have completed a professional education. Luis  is the youngest of a family of 18 siblings (13 of whom are still alive). His mother died when he was  only 10 years old. The statement "You cannot change life but you can change someones life" is definitely appropriate here.

Sonia and Karla from Alotenango graduated this year as Kindergarten Teachers and Gloria and Glenda as Teachers. The four girls received help with their homework while attending their educational programs at Bendicion de Dios. During the past 6 years they regularly helped to organize activities for the project. In 2010 these 4 wonderful young people will start their jobs at the school of Bendición de Dios in Alotenango!  Everything comes full circle !

Congratulations to these hard-working students and THANK YOU to all of you who have made this possible with your support !

   

Graduates from Secondary School
There  have also been several graduates from the secondary schools of Alotenango and Chimachoy. In Alotenango 25 youngsters received their diploma. Half of the expense of their education was supplied  by a scholarship from Los Niños. Five of these children will continue their studies in a vocational training centre with the help of our partner organisation, CasaSito. At the end of November there was another success story in Chimichoy where 12 boys and 3 girls graduated. Some of them will also receive a vocational education thanks to the scholarships of Los Niños. Gaby of the Dubon family also finished secondary school and will be receiving a professional education with the help of her brother Jonatan, sister Maritza, mother Miriam and Los Niños.

 

 

The story of Jan and Alda's September Visit.
Alda and Jan wanted to have a very special honeymoon. They decided to go to Guatemala for 3 weeks and work for the project Semilla Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo. This is their story:

"If you are going to go anyway, why not try and collect some funds for a country in need and for children who really need it! Thanks to the many donations a house was build for a mother and her 7 children. We were present when the house was officially finished on 14th September. All other experiences were equally overwhelming. So many sweet children as well as Lys, the director and a strong woman, who keeps an educational centre running together with two other lovely teachers. The love and warmth which we felt, moved us deeply.

We bought work-books, textbooks, dictionaries and of lot of arts and crafts stuff. All these things had to be moved quickly due to the heavy rainfall which dragged on for days. It became clear that it was necessary to find a piece of land to build a new educational centre on. 

Together with Ana-Maria we also visited the homeless. This visit made a big impression on us. To make a long story short, our honeymoon was just unforgettable. We will continue to support Foundation Los Niños especially, for the time being, and Semilla de Esperanza y Amor. A big thanks to everyone who helped and supported us in San Mateo and Antigua.

All the best, Jan and Alda. "

The Computer Classroom is open in Chimachoy.
With the help of a Dutch Lions Club and the organisation "Wilde Ganzen" we were able to complete the building of the computer classroom in the nick of time. The construction was executed by a local team and supervised by our dear friend and architect, Knut. The new classroom was completely set up with tables, chairs, cupboards, a printer and a whiteboard. The students are so delighted ! We are hoping to find someone next year who can teach the children twice a week.

  

Buying land for Semilla Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo.
In the meantime, some land has been bought for the project Semilla Esperanza y Amor thanks to the warm support of Jan and Alda and ex-volunteer Stijn.
On November 16th the first 4 stones were sybolically placed on the site and early 2010 the construction of the new educational centre for 120 children will start. All children were asked to bring 2 stones as enrolement fee for next school year. It was a beautiful sight to see the long parade of children. Each smiling student carried a concrete brick to the new piece of land. Their joy was moving! For weeks whole families worked; mother, fathers and children helped to make the area ready for construction

As soon as the sun rose in the east they were working on the field. It is great to see such great spirit and support from the community. During the symbolic stone-laying one mother spoke on behalf of all families and said that she was so happy to be able to contribute to the future of her children. Unfortunately, not all children have parents who are able or willing to help their children. A little boy told Lys: "We are going home to sleep. We come to the project to learn and to be loved".

   

Organizational Team Belgium.
A few ex-volunteers from Belgium have taken the initiative to form a team. They are in contact with the Dutch organizational team to see what is the best way to cooperate. We are thankful and hope the team in Belgium has great success and good results for Los Niños. Interested in helping out ? Please send an email to Lavina Guidice, lavinaguidice@hotmail.com.

Closing of the schoolyear in Chimachoy.
Again the visit to celebrate year end in Chimachoy was a great event ! We were able to wish all the 15 graduates success in their future plans. To the parents we explained once more how important it is for their children to continue their studies and that we hope that more children can do just that next year. After enjoying a typical Guatemalan meal of tortillas there was enough left over that all parents and their children went home with a big basket, carried on their head, filled with foodsupplies. A meaningful and needed Christmas gift !

Projectvisit to Peru.
Ana-Maria and her friend Annie went to visit Jolanda Buets and Simone Heemskerk in Peru on their project. Jolanda worked for 5 years as a volunteer for Los Niños. In January 2009, with thanks to their foundation Por Eso, www.poreso.org , Jolanda and Simone left for Peru. Their goal is to build greenhouses in areas above the tree-line to ensure that people living there get more diverse food to complement their staple food, potatoes. As well, the local people will get an education in the cultivation of vegetables.
We were very impressed by what they have achieved in such a short time. Take a look at their website to see what they have accomplished!

Another ex-volunteer of Los Niños, Willeke Brouwer, has a project in Cusco for autistic children, Abrazos. We also visited her and it was amazing to see how she works with both the kids and their parents. You should have a look at the website, too: www.abrazos.nl

Our final visit was with Jolanda van den Berg who left for Peru in 1996 to give a group of shoe shiners a Shelter and a better future. Since then, she has built three warm and friendly hotels in Cusco that are ranked as #1 hotels in the Lonely Planet ! As well as all that she also has four soup kitchens for children where approximately 500 children from Cusco can get a warm meal 6 days a week. Jolanda has always been a big inspiration for Ana-Maria so she was so glad that she got the chance to spend some quality time with her. See Jolanda van den Berg's website at : www.ninoshotel.com


Turbulent year for the Carpentry Project ends with award.
In July, Suzan came to the Netherlands for her yearly carpentry event to inform and thank the donors. Little did she know that she would be diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of August. Currently she is in the middle of her treatment. After a breast-saving surgery, lymph gland checkups , irradiation and hormone therapy, and another surgery in 2010 she hopes to come back to Guatemala next year in April/May. She is one strong woman and is very committed to our Los Ninos work

We forge ahead in her absence on the Carpentry Project but think of her every day. ContruCasa ,together with Peter Oudejans, (who came here with a big donation) Los Ninos was able to do the necessary carpentry workplace renovation. The renovation is almost finished and soon we will have the official opening. We are incredibly thankful to Peter for his fantastic work. Suzan is enjoying this as well from Amsterdam (with frequent updates) and perceives this renovation as a gift from all her work during the past 5 years.

Suzan says: "Even though I have to make difficult decisions I feel good, my spirit is great. Somehow, I feel so fortunate that I receive all the best care here in the Netherlands, although I have 'no money'. I know very well that not many people are that lucky."


Do you want to send a message to Suzan? suzanguat@yahoo.com

  

Volunteers wanted ... Sun, Fun and Worthwhile Endeavours!
Haven't you always wanted to go abroad to learn about foreign cultures and language in combination with volunteer work? This is your chance! Are you at least 20 years old and would you be available for a period of 3 months?

Please contact our volunteer coordinator,in the Netherlands, vrijwilligers@losninos.info and request an Acquaintance Form. You can also visit our website for further information on volunteer work www.losninos.info
 

 

Muchas gracias, great Christmas celebrations and a Happy New Year.
2009 is coming to a close and thanks to your faith in Los Niños we have once again achieved a lot. All the generous gifts have allowed us to bring our goals to reality. We are also thankful for the many volunteers; their commitment and selflessness was a critical component in the schools.

Hopefully, you will support us again in 2010.