September 26, 2013
Dear friends, For many of us, we’re now firmly back in the “regular” activities of the autumn after a summer break. Many of us have started new projects, new jobs and our children have returned to school. In Guatemala, where we are supporting an education project in the community of El Triunfo, the school year is rapidly coming to a close.
I’m delighted to report to you about a visit four teachers from El Triunfo made at the start of this month to Estelí, Nicaragua to visit another one of Pueblito Canada’s partners. They received a 5 day intensive workshop for teachers on FUNARTE’s methodology for using art to encourage creativity, sociability and self-esteem among the students they teach. FUNARTE works to promote and facilitate the development of children through the development of their creative abilities. Further details on FUNARTE can be found online. Educators from Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua who work with another project supported by Pueblito Canada also took part.
We asked Santos Tzorin Julajuj, one of the teachers from El Triunfo (he’s also from the village!) to report on the visit. Here’s what he said.
“Four teachers participated: Evelyn, Antonio, Marcelino and I. We were selected by the Board of Directors of the middle and high schools and by the students’ parents association to participate in this workshop. We were concerned (as I expressed to Ken last year) with school dropouts and students’ low interest in continuing with their studies. Nevertheless, thanks to Pueblito Canada’s help, we now have the tools and are very motivated and convinced that we will spark among the youth the desire to continue with their studies. For this reason, we are very grateful with God, Miriam Buttu (Pueblito’s director), with Ken, with FUNARTE and with each of the people who in one way or another helped us cover the trip expenses. FUNARTE’s capacity-building workshop was greatly beneficial to every one of us who participated; it changed our perspective on formal education, we learned so much about emotional well-being, self-esteem, creativity and sociability in each educator and student. My colleagues are also very grateful, and they are already applying this experience to their students at the elementary school level.
During the first week of September, teachers from El Triunfo visited Funarte in Esteli, Nicaragua for a workshop on Funarte’s art-based learning techniques. Santos Tzorin is in the red shirt on the right side of the photo.
We will start planning how to put into practice what we learned in the following days, first with our fellow colleagues and then with our students. We plan on engaging elementary school level teachers as well. We are carrying out this activity in the first days of January next year since there are only 15 days of classes left for our students. We are confident that by carrying this activity out, we will transform the perspective of each teacher, each student and the educational structure of our own educational centre. So once again, we thank you for the support. As you know, we do not get any support from our government. As a matter of fact, up to date, we have not fully received the small subsidy the state had promised.
I would also like to share with you that we have been looking into different institutions and NGO’s for support with the various needs we have here at the school. We have issues with the school’s bathrooms, we are short on computers, projectors, desks, boards, chairs, etc., but we trust that we will, given the chance, fulfill these needs to the benefit of the students in our communities. Students’ parents are very grateful for Ken’s and Pueblito Canada’s unconditional support with monthly salaries for the teachers. We have been able to provide each boy and girl the opportunity to have a quality education through the payment of just salaries to each teacher. Thanks to this salary, as a Board, we have been able to demand that each teacher respects the schedule and their lesson planning duties towards the students.
Our soon-to- be graduates are currently doing internships in different state agencies. Like them and their parents, we wish that you could be present on their graduation day (November 16).
Once again, thanks for your support and the support of all of those who have contributed over the years to ensure salaries for the teachers, and for this opportunity we were given to train at FUNARTE. We are sure we will see the results this coming year. God bless you.”
As you can see your ongoing support for the project is greatly appreciated by the teachers, students and parents. Thanks to everyone who has generously supported the school so far. If you haven’t yet donated, please consider making a tax deductible donation to the school. Donations can be directed to Pueblito Canada. You can donate online at www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=25964 (Click on “Donate Now.” Then under “Fund/Designation,” select “El Triunfo School Project.”
Or you can also send a cheque payable to Pueblito Canada to:
Pueblito Canada @ The Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2C7
ATTN: El Triunfo School Project
I also want to let you know that Maria Xoch Ajcalon, a weaver and production manager with Asociacion Maya de Desarrollo is returning to Toronto this week. Feel free to drop by any of the upcoming events to meet her. Several of her nieces and nephews are attending classes in the school.
Saturday Sept 28 – St Lawrence Market, Toronto
Wednesday Oct 2 – Hamilton
Thursday Oct 3 – Special School Program at the Textile Museum of Canada. Details online.
Saturday Oct 5 – St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
Sunday Oct 6 – First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, 10:30 am service
Hope to see you soon.