Stichting Los Niños

Newsletter April 2014

Dear friends,

Spring started early in Holland, which is good to know because the sun gives you a lot of energy. In Guatemala we never have to wonder when spring will arrive as here the sun is always shining, it always feels that we have eternal spring. There is a lot to tell about both the existing projects and the new ones that Los Niños supports. This is made possible thanks to the continuing support of the sponsors. 'Thank you' from all the beneficiaries.

New projects, which are supported by Los Niños in 2014:
IISS - Institute for Investigation and Social Services (Instituto de Investigacion y Servicio Social).
IISS is working in two slums in the capital with the exclusive focus on youngsters from there. In the weekends they take part in general educational courses as well as in training courses, which they have selected such as car mechanic, beautician, hairdresser, woodwork, cooking etc. These trainings take from 1 to 3 years. After completing their training, many of them succeed in finding a job; some of them set up their own businesses. By being socially active they also contribute to improving the living conditions of their families. IISS coaches these youngsters, organizes additional workshops and promotes harmony between the different groups. "In 2014 more than 110 youngsters will receive such a training". Los Niños will sponsor IISS for the coming three years.
Music in the villages.
Los Niños is pleased to support this beautiful initiative by sponsoring it in 2014 so that this project can take off. Children and youngsters in the age range of 7 to 20 years' old are eligible to participate under the condition that they are willing to study music and comply with the program's criteria. They will be taught to become familiar with their musical instrument, to read music and to sing. A full scholarship will be given to those who have a special talent and behave responsibly. The teachers involved must be graduates from the National Conservatory of Guatemala and will be supervised by Carolina Palomo, who initiated this program. Carolina plays the harpsichord, a stringed instrument with a keyboard. Qualified musicians from abroad will participate in this program. They will teach for free; for instance, a German musician is teaching singing and the guitar at the moment.
15 Students with a scholarship in Alta Verapaz, Coban
We are proud to announce that 15 scholarships have been given to youngsters who will attend the secondary school in Alta Verapaz. This is thanks to the efforts of our partner organization CasaSito, a dream for a long time as very few NGOs are working in this remote area over 5 hours' drive from Antigua. A few years ago CasaSito decided to implement its motto "we will reach out further than other NGOs". Los Niños, together with 'Stichting Kinderprojecten Guatemala (SKG)" are sponsoring the 15 students.
A delegation from Los Niños visited the area and made the report given below. We hope that we will be able to continue to support the young people in this remote area in the future.

Report of the visit to Coban
Morning school in San Mateo.
Lys Flores proudly tells us that she has been able to start a primary school in the morning hours from 7.30 am - 2.30 pm. The Montessori teaching methodology will be used. It is intended that all pupils will end up with a diploma. She was already teaching 8 children, who were slightly mentally disabled. Now, she has an additional 46 children, who come from two villages high up in the mountains. This means that they will have to walk downhill for 1 hour and then back uphill for 1½ hours. The children vary in age, are in class 3 to 8, received their school books for free and have blue and white school uniforms. In the photograph you see a happy Yimena, who is 7 years old and in 3rd grade.
Educational Centre "Melanjoco" Bendicion de Dios in Alotenango.
The new school year started on 15 January in Alotenango. This year Los Niños sponsors 228 children out of the 301. Thanks to special donations we were able to give each child 2 text books. Los Niños also pays the salary of 4 out of the 8 teachers as well as part of the salary of the director. By the end of October 32 children will get their primary school diploma.
Telesecundaria Chimachoy.
We are pleased to inform you that an additional 35 students -amongst them 10 girls- will attend this secondary school. It continues to be difficult to convince parents that it is also important for girls to continue to study if they want to have a better chance in life. Last November 35 students graduated and among them were 9 girls. Out of these 35 a few have been chosen to go on to vocational training thanks to a scholarship from Los Niños. On the photograph you see the students from the 3rd class with 7 volunteers from Los Niños.
The computer room turned out to be too small. Fortunately it could be enlarged. The result is impressive. However, many computers are rather old. If somebody would like to donate another up-to-date computer, please contact Ana-Maria. You will make them very happy!
Exchange between Chimachoy and San Mateo.
At the end of last year the school board of Chimachoy asked if they could visit other projects which were supported by Los Niños. Therefore on 27 March an exchange visit took place with the San Mateo's school. Thanks to a generous donation from one of Ana-Maria's friends, a working lunch was organized during which the school directors exchanged their experiences prior to the actual school visit. It turned out to be a very successful visit. The visitors were impressed by the different activities of the school. Director Lys from San Mateo will now certainly visit the school in Chimachoy.
Educational Centre Brillo de Sol (Sunshine).
Although Brillo de Sol has already existed for 9 years, it only obtained the status of an NGO in 2013. It is a centre for children with learning difficulties, where they receive specialized training and therapy. Each of the children is considered to be a 'star' and treated as such. Due to their loving environment, each child is stimulated to reach its full potential. Each child is different: hyper active, depressed, suffering from lack of attention at home, dyslectic, epileptic, hyper intelligent, blind, deaf, abused, suffering from the Down's syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, or having concentration problems. It is the sad reality that there are no schools for these children, except Centre de Brillo. In this Centre social/economic status or age or behavioural & learning problems do not matter, the only important thing is that they get an opportunity to develop their potential and, therefore, are able to change their perspectives on life. For this reason, Los Niños will give 15 of these 'special' children in 'Brillo de Sol' a scholarship and, if Ana-Maria's wish will be fulfilled, many more years of support are to come. She was very impressed by both the children and the caring teaching staff as well as by the Centre itself.
Visit by Ludo van Dael,
Coördinator Karel de Grote-Hogeschool, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Ludo travels worldwide to visit his students, who do a traineeship in a foreign country. Last March he came to visit us. He visited the 6 students. After his visit we received the letter below.

"Los Niños and the Karel de Grote-Hogeschool in Antwerp have been cooperating for many years. Our teachers training college gives our students, who are in their last year, the chance to do a traineeship abroad. Thanks to Los Niños they can do this in one of the many projects in Guatemala. We have been choosing Los Niños for many years because they have proved to be a reliable partner who takes good care of our students. They are well coached and always come back enthusiastic. The kids in Guatemala know how to conquer their hearts!
Ana-Maria Ackermans makes this all happen. Last March my wife and I were very pleased to finally meet her. We went to the schools 'Bendición de Dios' in Alotenango and Semilla de Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo and we also went to the carpentry workshop. These are all schools with a heart, projects in a friendly, caring environment where both students and teachers feel very quickly at home. Thanks to the warm atmosphere, you feel challenged to learn, study and discover your talents. What else do you want as a youngster? Therefore, we say 'thank you' Los Niños. Thanks to you our students have a good start in their placement and widen their educational horizon.
Kind greetings, Ludo van Dael"
Thank you for reading all the information.
As from now on you will be informed regularly about new developments on Facebook of Los Niños. And... of course do not forget to click on 'I like'.

Warm regards from sunny Antigua,
Los Niños, Guatemala

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Stichting Los Ninos
Volunteer House CasaSito
Calle de Candelaria 5A