Happy New Year!

December 27, 2010

 Dear friends,

 I’m writing from the village of El Triunfo in the highlands of Guatemala. This is the community where the school project we have been supporting is located. While I may be “down south,” the weather I am experiencing is familiar to Canadians. A few hours ago the sun which was burning down on everything disappeared behind the clounds and the temperature started to plunge. But I came prepared and I’m settled down with an extra layer of clothes with a cup of hot tea soon to come. By dawn it will be close to freezing.

 Today I had my first meeting with the new COCODE (Consejo de Desarrollo Comunitario or Economic Development Committee.)  This is the organization that we have been working with on the school. Every two years a new committee is elected by community and this was my first chance to sit down with them since they were elected earlier in the year.

We had a great meeting, not only because it ended with cake and refreshments, but because we decided to take a more realistic approach to filling our new classrooms with desks, blackboards and bookshelves. While the expansion you funded has three new classrooms and an office, only the office and one classroom will be used in the upcoming school year. So instead of buying 75 student desks, 4 office desks, 3 blackboards, and 4 filing cabinets, plus some other miscellaneous items, we will only buy 25 student desks, 2 office desks, 1 blackboard, etc and will buy the additional items as we need them in the coming years. This will ensure that we will have enough funds available to pay our teachers in the coming months.

 If you haven’t made a tax-deductable donation for the 2010, it’s not too late to donate online to the project. I want to thank all of you who have made your donation in recent weeks. It is greatly appreciated. I also want to send a special thanks to two recent Rotman MBA graduates, Alex Kenjeev & Sandra Ochoa, who are celebrating their engagement by asking their friends to contribute to the project. They have raised almost a total of $1000 for the purchase of desks and chairs. Gracias!

 Here’s a reminder of what your donation does.

  •  $28 buys a desk for a student
  • $100 buys a blackboard needed for the new classroom
  • $500 buys a computer
  • $560 pays the monthly salaries of the teachers in the high school (grade ten only in 2011)
  • $1800 pays the monthly salaries of the teachers in the middle school

Your tax deductable donations for the school can be directed to Pueblito Canada. You can donate online at

 http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=25964 (Click on “Donate Now.” Then under “Fund/Designation,” select “El Triunfo School Project.”)  Or you want your donation to count for the 2011 tax year, please send a cheque payable to Pueblito Canada to:

 Pueblito Canada
El Triunfo School Project
The Centre for Social Innovation
Suite 165 – 215 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2C7
 

Happy New Year and I hope to see you all soon!

 Ken

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