Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Amigos de San Pablo volunteer committee during one of many meetings this past summer, which worked towards evaluating the three-year-old program. From left to right: Mace, Ety, Ian, Julio, and Yony. Photo by Brooke.

Happy holidays! Here’s hoping that you’ve had a healthy and productive 2009. Because of Ian’s thesis work on return migrants and deportees, we had the opportunity to return this past summer to the western Guatemalan mountains. Aside from visiting our friends and host family, we also spent time evaluating Amigos de San Pablo.

Among the program’s many strengths is the commitment of friends and family here in the US who have chosen to financially support students they’ve never met. These donors have helped create an invaluable opportunity for teenagers living in extreme poverty to write their own dreams, and Amigos de San Pablo would not exist without these special people.

In addition to the participation of many donors like you, we are blown away by the work of a dedicated group of San Pablo community volunteers who administrate the scholarships. We were elated to find that their focus has been on engaging families and designing transparent systems.

One of most important opportunities and/or challenges the program faces is sustainability. To move toward a more sustainable Amigos de San Pablo, we are considering the following future projects: 1) beginning a mini-loan program for middle and high school students who have small businesses; 2) seeking a fiscal sponsor here in the U.S. so all donations can be tax-deductible; and 3) formalizing the activities of the recipients to build leadership qualities and promote their investment in future grantees.

The school year is right around the corner. As we embark on the necessary research and collaborative discussions with the San Pablo committee, we hope that you will support these students in their continued education. To donate towards the 2010 school year, click on the PayPal link to the right or email to learn about where you can mail a check or money order.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What are your dreams? (¿Cuáles son sus deseos?)

Eleven of twelve grantees participated in a hands-on photography workshop this summer. We asked the students two very simple questions: 1) What are your hopes? and 2) What are your fears? After drafting some responses and learning to use the cameras, they represented their desires visually. Helping each other or taking the photos themselves, the students were empowered and excited. Here are just a few of the results.

Darvin Rodulfo Pérez | Middle School

My hopes are to achieve success and be an important person in the community; to go far with the things that I’ve learned; and to have a clear vision for where I want to arrive: at the pinnacle of success. Another one of my hopes is to help the people of my community in the development of Tacaná and of my own family. I hope to feel 100% proud of being from San Pablo and from Guatemala. Finally, I’d like to eventually become a lawyer and a notary public.

Mis deseos son alcanzar el éxito y ser una persona muy importante en la comunidad, llegar muy lejos con mis entendimientos, tener una visión muy clara por hasta donde quiero llegar a la cumbre del éxito. Otro de mis deseos es ayudar a las personas de mi comunidad, al desarrollo del municipio de Tacaná y de mi familia. Sentirme orgulloso de ser pablense y guatemalteco 100%. Otro deseo es llegar a ser abogado y notario.

Yendi Morales Gonzáles | Middle School

I hope to be a young lady who has graduated from school and become a professional. I would like to have a good job and a nice house. I also hope to help my siblings. I hope to be a talented young woman, and to help children who don’t have much education so that Guatemala moves forward and prospers.

Ser una señorita graduada y profesional. Tener un buen trabajo y una buena casa. Ayudar a mis hermanos. Ser una señorita talentosa. Ayudar a los niños que no tienen educación para que Guatemala salga adelante y prospere.

Eloiza Janeth Arreaga | Middle School

My hopes are to graduate and to have a good job to support my siblings so they can keep studying and graduate. That way, we will be able to help those who really need it. Also, one of my dreams is to take care of my mom just like she took care of us. When I graduate, I want to work with my community to somehow improve San Pablo.

Mis deseos son: Llegar a graduarme, tener un buen trabajo para darles el apoyo a mis hermanos para que ellos también sigan estudiando y que se graduen—así podremos ayudar a aquellos que lo necesiten—. También uno de mis deseos es cuidar a mi mamá así como ella nos cuidó a nosotros sus hijos, y también cuando yo esté graduada servir en algo en mi comunidad para mejorarla.

Urias Pérez | High School

My biggest hopes are: 1) to become the best engineer/architect in my community and promote changes here by putting into practice everything I’ve learned; 2) to be an artisan and help organize and prepare kids for a better future; 3) to build tourist attractions or monuments here in our area.

Mis mayores deseos son convertirme en el mejor Ingeniero Arquitecto de mi comunidad, promoviendo cambios en la misma, como poniendo en práctica lo aprendido; también, ser un artesano y organizar a los niños, preparándolos para un futuro mejor. Al final, construir parques turísticos en nuestro medio o, también, monumentos arquitectónicos.

María José Velásquez P. | High School

I hope to graduate, be a leader, serve my community and family and create projects that benefit me, my family and my community. I also hope to support the education of more kids and teens, to have better economic conditions, to travel and to get to know other cultures.

Graduarme, ser lidereza, servir a mi comunidad y a mi familia, crear projectos que me benefician a mi, a mi familia y a mi comunidad. Apoyar la educación de más niños y jóvenes, tener mejores condiciones ecónomicas de vida, viajar y conocer otras culturas.