Our Giving Tuesday Focus:
A Time of Giving & Gratitude
(Click Below to Donate Now)
Goal: $25,000 ($33,500 CAD)
"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond.
I consider those people my heroes."
Dear FundaMaya Friends,
The future of Guatemala is our children.
As a result, FundaMaya has focused on our preschools and nutrition centers for the past 12 years. We are once again making them our focus as we move into our Giving Tuesday (December 1, 2020) fundraising drive: A Time of Giving & Gratitude.
The children, especially the indigenous children in Guatemala who FundaMaya serves, have a taller mountain to climb to reach the pinnacle of education in comparison to North American children. Education opens up choices and opportunities. It starts with the FundaMaya Preschool and Nutrition Centers for many in our communities.
Good nutrition is a must to allow our body and brain to have the nutrients necessary to stay physically healthy and to learn. Malnourished children are known to be ill more frequently and as a result have an increased risk of death.
Did you know, "In Guatemala, five out of 10 children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition (49.8%), affecting eight out of 10 indigenous children (80%)." (Source: Human Development Report 2015-2016)?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, food in Guatemala for most families has been even more limited. The nutrition we provide, whether in the schools themselves or food packets sent home to the student's family, is essential.
Our hope is to help our preschool students with access to nutritious foods as it has been found that many Guatemalan children, "have delayed cognitive development and consequently are likely to complete fewer years of schooling, which subsequently results in lower economic productivity." (Source: Black et al. 2013; Grantham-McGregor et al. 2007)."
We can help these specific preschool students, so that Guatemala can continue to break the cycle of poverty. The children in our preschools come from very poor families, often struggling single mother families, sometimes grandparents doing their best to raise their grandchildren. (Take time to read Sandra's story in our next Giving Tuesday e-mail in a few days.)
We know it is best to not only help the child. Our Nutrition and Preschool Centers also help the caregivers receive support through parenting and nutrition classes. In addition, they have access to our full-time social workers and part-time psychologist, who work to support them with any issues.
YOU can help us make a difference and reach our goal of $25,000 ($33,500 CAD) to benefit our 3 FundaMaya Preschool & Nutrition Centers this year!
Giving Tuesday is on December 1, 2020, though you may contribute now by clicking on one of the donation buttons (above or below). You may contribute a one time general donation or monthly repeating donation - or you may sponsor a preschool student (paying monthly or the whole amount at once).
If you would like to sponsor a child for the entire year, you will receive some general information about the child and family, along with pictures. More than that, you will be making the difference in a child's future and provide an opening to all sorts of opportunities.
We must rebuild our monetary funds while also working on having more preschoolers sponsored going forward.
(Click Below to Donate Now)
Can YOU help us reach our $25,000 Goal? Can YOU help us reach our $25,000 ( CAD)Goal?
For a little over a dollar a day you $47 CAD per month.
can change a child's life. $563 CAD annually.
$35 US per month.
$420 US annually.
"I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world."
Dolly Parton (on the Today Show when she learned her donation had contributed to the promising Moderna vaccine study) & Founder of Imagination Library
Meeting the Need
Take a few minutes to watch the second of three videos we have put together to see how our teachers have adapted their teaching and brought school to the students' homes. Hear in a young mother's own words why this campaign is critical.
"At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
Volunteer's Perspective on
Impact of Preschools & Nutrition Centers
We first met Ana Estela in July 2011 at the El Barranco Preschool. We very distinctly remember her. She was about 3 years old and was inconsolable. She cried and cried and her little cheeks were red and chapped as tears rolled down them. Many members of our group tried to console her - but to no avail. At the time she was one of the youngest of 12 children and her father was a farmer.
Over the years we had several chances to serve her when we would return with different service groups. We gave her one of the homemade fleece blankets we make, a goody bag with toys and more needed items, and bags of food. We did crafts with her, played games with her and the other preschoolers.
As you can see, her whole demeanor changed thru the years. I am sure it is due to the care she received at the FundaMaya Preschool and Nutrition Center. She received a nutritious breakfast and snack, along with spending a day with her peers and a trained teacher. She learned Spanish (vs. just her spoken language of Kakchiquel), along with the basic educational concepts (A,B,C's; numbers; weather; colors; reading; puzzles; etc.) and much needed socialization skills! She played and smiled, interacting with her fellow precocious peers.
Ana Estela is one of the many children I think of often as the years have gone on - and she is a great example of the multitudes of preschoolers whom FundaMaya and our service teams have served over the years!
"The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Gratitude & Giving
We are very grateful for our teachers and cooks for all they have given to our almost 1,000 preschoolers since 2008 when we opened our first Preschool and Nutrition Center!
They care for the FundaMaya preschoolers with love, while providing structure and learning opportunities during the two years the children are with them.
They hope to foster a love of learning and a head start in the Guatemalan educational system.
If you have ever been here to visit one of our preschools, we are sure you have seen them in action, quietly directing and teaching some very active 3 to 5 year old children!
Without further ado, we are grateful for:
Seño Luqui: Director of our Preschools
Seño America: Panajachel Preschool Teacher
Seño Clara: San Jorge Preschool Teacher
Seño Griselda: San Antonio Preschool Teacher
Antonieta: San Antonio Palopo Preschool Cook
Elma: San Jorge Preschool Cook
Education Department (responsible for all students in FundaMaya Sponsorship Program:
Sandra Chiroy: Director of Education Programs
Erika: Preschool & Nutrition Center; Sponsorship Program
Sayda: Sponsorship Updates/Records
Josefina: Sponsorship Registration & Updates/Records
Many of the women also continue their university studies on the weekend and evenings.
Another Idea.... This year will continue to be like no other over the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Many of us have made the decision to have fewer people over - or even no one - to celebrate the holiday. Thanksgiving will look different in many ways, but one way it will stay the same is to be a day when we can think about all we have to be grateful for even during these difficult, life changing times. For some it will be health, for many it will be family, and hopefully we all have the basic need of food being met. In the NGO world, we often talk about if people would give up their speciality drink once a week, they could easily donate $10 a month. Or maybe it is saving change and donating it to a favorite NGO (Hint: FundaMaya/Action Alliance/ FundaMaya Canada is a great choice!). Proceeds from a lemonade stand can even help others. Maybe this year if you aren't going to be able to host as many people for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or some other special meal, you can think about how much you would normally pay for each meal and donate that to our Giving Tuesday Campaign: A Time of Giving & Gratitude. For example, if you would normally have 6 more people and each person's plate costs about $10 can you donate $60 in their honor to help our preschoolers be educated and fed in 2021? Or if you would normally have 3 more friends or family members join you and you estimate each of their meals would be about $15, can you donate $45 in their honor? You can even let them know you made this donation in their honor and why you are grateful for each of them - whether it be over FaceTime, Zoom, a phone call, or in a holiday gift. Let them know how this donation will help and maybe even tell them about sponsoring a child, in case they might be interested too. Traditions are important and hopefully we will all be back together in person with our loved ones in 2021, and the preschoolers will be having fun being rambunctious and soaking in lots of great information! Giving Tuesday is on December 1, 2020, though you may contribute now by clicking on one of the donation buttons (at the very top) or here to make a donation or sponsor a preschool child for 2021.
"The children learn human values including respect for all people."
Seño Luqui (Director of the Education and Nutrition Centers "Caritas Soñadoras" for FundaMaya)
Yummy Food - Thanks to Our Cooks!
Our two cooks are amazing as they not only cook breakfast for each of our children, they also provide a nutritious snack. They do all of this, while also helping the teachers to "wrangle" the preschoolers who sometimes seem to have "ants in their pants!" Not only are the preschoolers and their families receiving a benefit - the teachers and cooks (all women) are employed and contributing to their family's financial stability. (Top Photo) Elma: San Jorge Preschool Cook (Bottom Photo) Antonieta: San Antonio Palopo Preschool Cook
The Director's Perspective
Role: Director of the Education and Nutrition Centers "Caritas Soñadoras" for FundaMaya
Name: Lucrecia (Luqui) Marleni Guarcax Campos
Village From: Panajachel
Intercultural Bilingual Education Teacher
Bachelor's Degree in Preschool Education
Master´s Degree in Preschool Education
FundaMaya Employee Since: 2009
Seño Luqui loves telling stories to the children so they can use their imagination, along with developing analytical and critical thinking skills.
During the school year she is happy to see the children become independent and consequently develop as they attend school. They get opportunities to analyze and develop a rich vocabulary.
Seños Luqui uses a variety of teaching methods including Montessori and Integral. She loves to have the kids active and participating in the learning process.
Seño Luqui is grateful for the chance to teach and work in the FundaMaya preschools. As she gives to the children and families, she knows they are thankful for her work. The families express their gratitude through words and sometimes gifts from the parents and children.
A Teacher's Perspective School: San Antonio Palopó Teacher: Griselda del Rosario Pérez Pérez Village From: Santa Catarina Palopo (about 15 minutes by truck) Education: Intercultural Bilingual Education Teacher FundaMaya Employee Since: 2010 One of Seño Griselda's favorite activity to do with the children is to go out on Fridays to play sports at the local field. Seño Griselda says at the beginning of the year all the children are shy and only speak Kakchiquel. The first months are really hard for them due to the introduction of Spanish as a second language. The rest of the year they start reading and writing. They also learn the numbers, vowels, consonants, colors, and other concepts. She feels they become more confident and are able to socialize with the rest of the children better. At the end of the year they are able to listen, follow instructions, and work using what they have been taught. She feels she has earned the gratitude of the families from San Antonio because of her patience and the respect she has for the children.
Note: The perspectives of the FundaMaya Preschool & Nutrition Centers' teachers and directors have been translated and slightly edited for clarity.
Seño Griselda (teacher in San Antonio Palopo) says she is really grateful for the work she does for several reasons. First, her work is important to sustain her family—she is really grateful for the opportunity. She has also been able to gather experience and learn about teaching from each child.
Day in the Life of a Preschooler:
In an ordinary year, it is not unusual for a volunteer, visitor, or donor to pop in and find the FundaMaya preschoolers doing something educational and fun at the same time. Based on so many of these visits, I can tell you it is a time of smiles and joy for both our visitors and our students.
Often our students will greet you in Spanish (remember many are learning Spanish for the first time since their families speak Kakchiquel at home), sing a song, or even perform traditional dances. The dances are a way for us to also keep their culture "alive and present" in their lives.
Though to start the day, the children arrive at 8am and are welcomed by their teacher. They will often sing songs before the cook and the teacher hand out breakfast to the students. Some of the breakfast options might be:
Eggs, beans, & tortillas (a very typical Guatemalan breakfast)
Eggs and pancakes, often with honey
Oatmeal or a food similar to cream of wheat with fruit that is in season
Cornflakes and fruit (a favorite when they get this meal)
Sometimes they have traditional fried plantains. The eggs are sometimes scrambled, other times boiled or fried. Are you ready for this? One of their favorites is spaghetti and sausage for breakfast! We will let you decide if you want to tell your kids or grandkids that information - or if they would be begging you for spaghetti and sausage then!
After breakfast the kids brush their teeth, many learning for the first time when they come to the preschools, and then take a vitamin tablet. Learning about washing their hands and general hygiene is part of their day.
Often the teacher will tell them some short stories so they can develop their imaginations. They will color and work on other educational topics - using crafts, toys, and items around the classroom to reinforce the concepts.
Of course there is time to just be children and play, learning about social interactions and motor skill development along the way. I think about every child loves recess and just having time to explore and interact with others and their environment.
Once a week they have a more formal physical education class. If service groups or individuals are in town, they may have crafts or physical activities to do with the kids. The kids love it when some of the local clowns come to visit with groups also.
Before they leave to go home at noon, the children receive a nutritious snack which may consist of oatmeal (or a fortified cereal drink often eaten in Guatemala) or fruit. They also receive some homework and are then picked up at 12:00pm.
There is typically a line of moms, older siblings, or other family members ready to collect their little ones. It is then time for the teachers to start cleaning the rooms and getting ready for the next day...and maybe take a moment to "breathe!"
"Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, '
What are you doing for others?'"
Martin Luther King Jr.
School Year in Guatemala
The school year typically begins in mid January to early February in Guatemala and ends in late October or early November.
At the beginning of the year, all children are weighed and measured, so they can be monitored throughout the year. In this way, we can hopefully notice if there are any malnourishment issues that need to be addressed.
Nutrition is integral to our preschool programs as we understand that children can not learn and perform at their best if they are having hunger pains and not properly nourished.
The well-being of each of the FundaMaya preschoolers is essential to their learning and to us. In normal years, we have medical groups come who do an evaluation of each child so we can identify any areas we need to specifically help them with or monitor.
In 2021, we will need to continue adapting to the evolving situation. We may have "virtual" school for a few months and then go back to our traditional school scenario. Or we may have a hybrid school structure where the children come to the school building some days and are taught by the FundaMaya teachers. The other days they may study at home with their parents based on materials we have provided.
We understand we will be dealing with a dynamic situation. We have learned over the past eight months--as has the rest of the world. FundaMaya has committed talented teachers that have been with us for many years - several since the school they work at opened.
An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends.
The Preschool Funds are part of our larger Education Funds (covering all of the sponsored students).
Here are just some of the items that are covered in the preschool funds:
Nutritious Breakfast each day
Nutritious Snack each day
Vitamin each day
Glue & Tape
General Craft Items used in Lessons
Crayons, Markers, Pencils
Motor Skills Development Toys
Toothbrushes, Soap, Toilet paper
Wages for 4 Teachers
Wages for 2 Cooks
Rent & Maintenance for 1 Preschool Building
Maintenance for 2 Preschool Buildings
Water/Sewage & Electrical Utilities for 3 Preschool Buildings
Cooking Gas for 3 Preschools
General Items/Repair: Chairs, Tables, Schoolwork Cubbies
Contribute to the Education Department Expenses
Graduation Ceremony & small gift at end of year
Many of our preschoolers are traditionally sponsored throughout the year when individuals and families, along with service, educational, and church groups, serve alongside us here in Guatemala. As we all know, visits were not possible (and won't be for the first half of 2021), so the majority of the preschool students we accepted in 2020 were not sponsored.
In addition, many of our expenses were constant. FundaMaya continued to employ and pay wages to our valued teachers throughout the pandemic. We still had costs associated with the rent of the Panajachel preschool, maintenance of the San Jorge La Laguna and San Antonio Palopo preschools, and educational materials the teachers sent home for each student twice a month.
In some cases, our expenses were multiplied. For example, we did not feed the preschoolers in the actual school buildings beyond March; however, we did put together and distribute food packages for their entire family once or twice each month which was more costly. It was the right thing to do though as food scarcity has been the primary concern in 2020.
So, while we continued to educate, feed, and work on the overall well-being of our preschool families, our income was decreased for this program.
We are grateful for each and every donation that helps support our program, but more importantly your giving invests in the future of the children in our communities!
Time of Giving & Gratitude -
Giving Tuesday Focus
"A mind when stretched by a new idea
never regains its original dimensions."