A Visit for the School’s 10th Anniversary

July 19, 2018

Good morning from Guatemala.

I’m in Sololá to attend the 10th anniversary activities of the school we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo. Since 2006, we’ve been supporting students in the community beginning with scholarships and later with the establishment of a middle school.

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Yesterday I spent the afternoon attending the activity to elect the senoritas of the school, which included traditional dance, some not so tradition dance, a bull fight(!), skits, and a replay of the France-Croatia World Cup final. Whew! You can take a look at a selection of my photos from yesterday here. This afternoon I am returning for a “cultural” event followed by a sports day tomorrow.

For those of you who attended or made a donation to our “Mid-Season Bash for Guatemala” I have some good news for you. Next week we will be buying the needed audio visual equipment for the classrooms.  Without your generosity we would not be able to purchase the equipment.  Your donations also help to pay the salaries of the school staff and teachers. You can donate online through Casa Pueblito or mail in a cheque. (A cheque actually ensures that more of your money goes directly to the school!) But here’s the link for online donations –

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-pueblito/

(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito or drop one off with me.

Casa Pueblito

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Thanks for your continued support of the project.

Ken

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It’s back! The Annual Mid-Season Bash for Guatemala!

 

April 29, 2018

Dear friends, I’m delighted to invite you to the return of the annual Guatemalan Mid-Season Bash – a fundraiser for the El Triunfo Project in Guatemala, which provides a middle school education to children in El Triunfo, Guatemala. This year’s goal is to raise enough money to buy new student desks as well as audio-visual equipment for the classrooms.

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El Triunfo – January, 2018

 

When: Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Doors and Silent Auction Open at 7:00pm with Live Music with Celtic and Croon at 8:30 pm Silent Auction Closes at 9:30 pm, Socializing until the wee hours.

Where:  Dora Keogh Irish Pub 141 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON (South side of Danforth, close to Broadview subway station) www.dorakeogh.to

Tickets: suggested minimum donation of $25 per person or donation of your choice

Please consider attending this fundraiser. Bring a friend and don’t forget to tell me you’re coming.

Donations are gratefully accepted for the slient auction.

If you can’t attend but would like to made a contribution, you can donate online here.   (Important:  under “APPLY YOUR DONATION TO A SPECIFIC FUND SET UP BY THIS CHARITY,” please select  #2 “El Triunfo School Project.”)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito:

 Casa Pueblito

 107A 2238 Dundas St. W

 Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

 ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

This year we’re thrilled to be joined by Celtic and Croon who are Michael O’Grady and Richie Roxborough. O’Grady is an Irish born Canadian multi-instrumentalist playing the piano, accordion, guitar, and the Irish Whistle. One of the great practitioners of the Irish Whistle worldwide, O’Grady has toured the world with The Mahones and is a fixture on the Toronto music scene performing with numerous bands  Roxborough, is one of Canada’s finest keyboard players who has played everywhere from The Air Canada Centre to world concerts in Egypt to the bandshell at the CNE and everything in between covering multiple musical genres.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there! And don’t forget to check out my photos from the school from my visits in January and February.

Ken

 

School Update for December with a surprise!

December 24, 2017

Happy holidays everyone!

It’s been quite the year for the middle school we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo, Guatemala. We started the school year in January with around 60 students enrolled in grades 7, 8 and 9 and had around 60 students finish the school year in October with 21 students graduating from grade 9 in November.

Graduation 2017

Our grade nine class on graduation day!

 

On a recent trip to Guatemala, I visited the school mostly for the reason to get caught up on the paper work. Every dollar we send to the school to pay the teachers must be accounted for and it was time to get the receipts for each month’s pay since I had last visited the school. During the course of my visit to the school with the community members I work with, there was a surprise for me that Gregorio, the school director, and the teachers were planning to reveal to me in 2018. Earlier this year they had applied to a foundation for a donation of computers and their request was successful! I was shown ten new computers, which had recently arrived, and are waiting to be set up for the start of the school year in January. Next month when I will be at the school for the first day of the school year, I’ll get more information from Gregorio on how the computers were obtained. But I ‘m thrilled that they now have the computers and will, more or less, have a fully functional lab, with computers for all of the students in each class.

Computers

My 2018 surprise revealed a little early!

 

I want to thank all of you for your support of the school in 2017. Many of you have been extremely generous in both your moral and financial support of the project. I’d like to remind you that it’s not too late to make a donation to the school this year so we’ll have the funds to pay the teachers as they return to the classroom next month.

You can donate online through Casa Pueblito or mail in a cheque. (A cheque actually ensures that more of your money goes directly to the school!) But here’s the link for online donations –

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-pueblito/

(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito or drop one off with me.

 Casa Pueblito

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season for you and your family! See you in 2018.

Ken

A Holiday Sale for Guatemala

November 22, 2017

Hello everyone, some of you have been asking if I will be holding my annual holiday sale for Guatemala.

The answer is that I will be taking part in a larger sale at UofT’s Rotman School of Management on Friday, December 1 from 11 am to 5 pm. I’ll be joining 30 vendors from the Rotman community showcasing unique gift ideas for everyone on your nice list. There will also be food, kid-friendly activities and a special guest (the fat man in red) will also make an appearance. Full details are online.  I’ll be there will the clothing and accessories from Asociacion Maya de Desarrollo in Sololá, fairly traded coffee from Guatemala as well as jewelry from Casa Milagro. Feel free to share with your friends and family.

And as requested here’s a photo from the graduation of the grade nine class on November 6. Gregorio, the school director, told me this week that enrollment has started for the new school year which begins in January.

Graduation 2017

Grade Nine Graduation – November 6, 2017

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the school. Your donations are used to pay the salaries of the teachers each month. You can donate online through Casa Pueblito or mail in a cheque. (A cheque actually ensures that more of your money goes directly to the school!)But here’s the link for online donations –

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-pueblito/

(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito or drop one off with me.

Casa Pueblito

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Thank you and I hope to see you next week at the sale!

Ken

 

My August Visit to the School

October 29, 2017

Dear friends,

Can you believe it? The year has ended for the middle school we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo in Guatemala. Classes concluded earlier this month and the graduation ceremony for the grade nine class will be held on November 6.

On my last visit to the school in August, I was very pleasantly surprised to see enrollment had more or less held steady in all three grades. This means the school is bucking some local and national trends which shows school enrolment at this level is dropping. Throughout the year, I was expecting to see some of the boys in grade who were older and larger than their classmates to disappear but they hadn’t. It was quite rewarding to see them still in school as I’ve seen many kids over the years drop-out for work or family reasons.

Grade 9

Our grade nine class

 

You can see some photos from my visit to Guatemala from the school and when I went to a soccer game on what turned out to be a very rainy day in Solola here.

A recent interview (Spanish) with an official with the United Nations Development Program discussed how Guatemala is the only Latin American country not to have reduced poverty over the past two decades and in fact poverty is increasing with around 65% of the Guatemala population living in poverty. In indigenous communities, the poverty level is much higher. Around five years ago many of the families with children in the school could benefit from a program which paid them a cash bonus each month if their children were registered in school and had received all of their immunizations. The program was based on a highly successful program in Brazil. While reports say that the program continues in Guatemala, it has not been available to the people of El Triunfo for a number of years. (When I asked why the program isn’t available anymore I was told, “We voted for the wrong candidate for President.”)

On a brighter note, one of the highlights of the school since its inception has been the large numbers of girls who have been studied in the school. I was thinking about this recently on the International Day of the Girl on October 11. This project started off over ten years by supporting two young women with scholarship and continues to support the aspirations of many young women who wish to pursue an education.

Grade 7

Our Grade 7 Class

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the school. Your donations are used to pay the salaries of the teachers each month. You can donate online through Casa Pueblito or mail in a cheque. (A cheque actually ensures that more of your money goes directly to the school!) But here’s the link for online donations –

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-pueblito/

(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito or drop one off with me.

 Casa Pueblito

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Thank you! And I hope to share some graduation photos with you next month.

Ken

It’s a Sale for Guatemala!

Join me for this semi-annual sale featuring Guatemalan weaving from Asociación Maya de Desarrollo, Solola, Guatemala; Fair trade coffee from the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA), Guatemala; and jewelry from Casa Milagro, Guatemala.

Featuring weaving demonstrations by Maria Xoch Ajacalon from Asociación Maya

Maria Xoch Ajcalon

Saturday, September 23

9:00 am to 3:00 pm

772 Coxwell Avenue (north of Danforth Avenue and Coxwell subway station)

Toronto

For more information: Ken McGuffin, mcguffin@rotman.utoronto.ca / 416-466-7594

Donations will also be accepted for the El Triunfo Education Project which provides an affordable education for the sons and daughters of weavers from Asociacion Maya through the establishment of a middle school in the village of El Triunfo, Guatemala. For more information or how to make a tax deductible donation to the project, please visit https://guatemalaschool.wordpress.com

July Update on the School

July 24, 2017

Dear friends, usually when you receive an update from me at this time of the year, I’m in Guatemala. However this year I had to change my travel plans so I won’t be in Guatemala until this time next month.  This meant for the first time I missed the annual celebrations for the anniversary of the school. This year’s event took place last week so I missed out on the sports day, the musical and dance performances and some of the other fun! Remember El Toro?

El Torito!

yes – under the sparks there is a person!

Last week Casa Pueblito held a fundraiser for the organization with a screening of Finding Oscar. Thank you for everyone who turned out. The documentary, which I highly recommend, is now available on video on demand including iTunes. Find out more online. One interesting aspect is that the story of the Dos Erres massacre is still playing out in courtrooms in Canada, United States and Guatemala.

Oscar

Finding Oscar

 

I want to thank you for your ongoing support of the school in El Triunfo. We’re more than half way through the school year which ends in October in Guatemala. Your donations are used to pay the salaries of the teachers each month plus provide a scholarship to one student in university this year. You can donate online through Casa Pueblito or mail in a cheque. (A cheque actually ensures that more of your money goes directly to the school!) But here’s the link for online donations –

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/casa-pueblito/

(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito or drop one off with me.

 Casa Pueblito

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Thank you and watch for an update from Guatemala next month!

Ken