Newsletter March 2010

Dear all,
The first three months of 2010 are almost gone and therefore it is time for an update from  beautiful Guatemala. During the first months we graciously received many visitors from the Netherlands. We proudly presented our projects to them.

Our Los Niños projects are having great success from the enthusiasm and efforts of our volunteers.  Many thanks to all who have served!

Visit chairman and treasurer
Jan Jongerius, Chairman and Henry Dix, Treasurer of Los Niños visited all our projects.  Their visit was met with great success. See attached pictures of both gentlemen dancing in Chimachoy.  The week they spent with us went by quickly.  Their trip was a success for all of us,  as we were able to have a lot of important discussions about our projects. They returned to the Netherlands very satisfied. Thankfully, both of them paid for their trips out of their own pockets.

   

New volunteer coordinator in the Netherlands
The close cooperation with Els van Rossen will come to an end after 5 years. She will hand over her responsibilities as coordinator for the volunteers to Lisette Rikkers, former volunteer. Els will remain active for Los Niños as a member of the committee. We would like to give a special thanks to Els for her dedication and great teamwork. We would also like to welcome Lisette.  Her role as coordinator has been altered a bit. She will relieve the team in Guatemala by answering questions of new volunteers. Lisette will be their first point of contact. Because Lisette has been to Guatemala several times, she knows all the ins and outs. For more information or questions please email her at : vrijwilligers@losninos.info.

Letter of Thanks from director Laura in Chimachoy on behalf of a mother
The mother of a student in the Telesecundaria in Chimachoy has cervical cancer. They are one of the poorest families in Chimachoy. The medical fund of Los Niños helped to pay for the cost of transport to the capital city, the examinations and the vitamins which were needed for the mother. Director Laura assisted the mother several times to helping her get dressed/undressed.  She also helped her keep clean a hand that would not stop bleeding. The last examinations took place the end of February.

She is doing much better, thanks to the vitamins and a special medicine for anemia. This combination of medication and vitamins enables her to walk on her own and to get on the bus by herself.

Laura's letter ends with: "Thank you so much for all the help given to the mother of Juanita. Foundation Los Niños is a blessing for many people in Guatemala and without a doubt for me as well. May God bless Ana-Maria, Virginia, and all the donors." 

   

New school year in Alotenango has begun.
In the Centro Educativo Melanjoco in Alotenango the school year started on the 25th of January. The school counts 25 new enthusiastic children. Gloria, who you can see in the group picture, graduated last year. Now she is putting her teacher's degree into practice. The children are very pleased with their teacher. Also the computer room is ready for use.


     



Handing out school supplies in San Mateo and building an educational centre
The project "Semilla de Esperanza y Amor" in San Mateo where students receive help with  their homework also receives structural help from Los Niños. Thanks to several donations, all children received a package with school supplies. The scholarship students received a backpack and some fabric to make their own uniform. The 13 students with scholarships will be going to secondary school.  Los Niños partner CasaSito is sponsoring these students. During this festive gathering the director Lys Flores emphasized the importance of going to school. We hope that this year we will be able to build a new educational center.
Jan and Alda, who are very committed to this project, are organizing  several activities in the Netherlands. Hiking for a good cause and a benefit concert, are just two examples and hopes to collect a lot of money for the building of the educational center.

    

Computer teacher Chimachoy
Henry Isaac Cojan from San Andres Itzapa is the new computer teacher who started this year and whose salary is being paid by Los Niños. He is a nice straight forward young man who teaches well. Every day he walks up and down the mountain to school, 8 kilometers each way. He is the oldest in a family of 6 children. Their parents died 10 years ago and he inherited the responsibility of seeing that his siblings go to school.

All siblings have found a destination, and he is now taking care of his 15 year old sister who is in her second year of high school.

Henry has lived in extreme poverty but found the strength to rise above it by working hard during the day and studying in the evenings. He is very grateful that as a teacher he can be a good example for the youngsters in Chimachoy.

 

Esteban Torre
Esteban is a boy of 17 who is currently in his second year of  electronics training.  It suits him perfectly. Esteban was given the opportunity by a Canadian friend, to receive private tutoring in English during the holidays.  He studied every day for one hour. After a few weeks his English was quite good, and he was extremely motivated.

Now he has a free scholarship at a private English school. He attends class every Saturday from 2:00 until 5:00. He is the best student in his class.  We hope that a beautiful future awaits him.


Family program.
We started a new program as part of the overall program offered at the primary school Bendición de Dios in Alotenango. During 8 weekly sessions, we will educate 10 preselected, underprivileged families on the subject of upbringing.

Many children do not graduate from school or have fallen behind tremendously. Often this has nothing to do with lack of intelligence but due to an unhealthy situation at home, i.e. child abuse, neglect, alcohol or drug addiction of the parents, emotional limitations of the parents, lack of empathy, love, understanding or stimulation.

During these sessions we want to offer the parents alternative methods of upbringing. In addition, we want to work on communication and behavior to strengthen the family ties and to help make the home environment more loving and enjoyable. This program will be supervised by Virginie and conducted by the Belgium Anneleen Haeck, who was sent to us by the Belgium ONG Volens, and a Guatemalan psychology student, Deisy Loren, together with a couple of volunteer students from abroad.

Volunteers wanted for the family program.
To be able to execute the second module of the family program in Alotenango as mentioned above, we are still looking for motivated volunteers with a background in the social sector. This module will take place during the months of July and August. An important prerequisite is that you speak Spanish fluently.

In case you are interested, please contact Lisette Rikkers, volunteer coordinator located in the Netherlands. Please send your email to : vrijwilligers@losninos.info.

Flood in Peru
In the December newsletter Ana-Maria told about her visit to the project Por Eso in Peru. In the beginning of February we heard about a big flood in the region where Por Eso is working. We received a  request to provide emergency aid. Since hurricane Stan happened in 2005, we know how important it is to be able to offer help quickly. However, funds are needed to do so. Los Niños immediately donated some money to ensure that Jolanda and Simone were able to offer some emergency relief. Aid for rebuilding the area is still desperately needed. Will you help as well? See attached a short impression about the aid provided.

Movie about the Maya calender
The ancient Maya culture from Mexico and Guatemala left us with amazing knowledge about the stars and the calendar.
Click here to watch it.


Also this year carnival was a glittering celebration
Three vans packed with enthusiastic Dutch and Belgium guys and girls left on the 13th of February to visit the capital city to celebrate the annual carnival party. Ana-Maria handed over her title as princess to a new prince and said in her farewell speech "that she would love to live the rest of her life being a princess."  She was fully dressed for the occasion as the picture shows.

 

Gracias, thank you. 
Last but not least we would like to express our gratitude to all the dear people in and outside of the Netherlands who enabled us to continue our work in Guatemala.