March 22, 2007

Children of the week

name: Paola Prado
age: 12
grade: 3rd
favorite subject: math
favorite sport: soccer
future goal: to be a nurse

name: Maria Prado
age: 10
grade: 3rd
favorite subject: math
favorite sport: basketball
future goal: to be a trilingual secretary

name: Pablo Prado
age: 9
grade: 1st
favorite subject: spanish
favorite sport: basketball
future goal: to be a college graduate

These kids make me smile. Mostly because no matter what- they are a family and they stick together. The Prado family has taken the scholarship program by storm this year. We've known this family since we arrived in Salacuim. They are a nightly fixture in our house and they've become some of our best allies here. After finishing off the 2006 school year, we learned in January that none of them were enrolled in school this year. Our first reaction was that we need to get these kids in school so they are not in our house all day long. In reality, it became our mission to just show them that we think they are worth helping out. The scholarship program has transformed the kids from what we knew when we first met them. The self-confidence is oozing out of them now. To me, they were always the kids that were never really the ones that fit in at school. They have a lot of friends, but they never had a descent outfit to wear, rarely had shoes and always were a little more grubby than the normal grubby kids we see around here. None of them had ever owned a backpack before this year and a full set of school supplies was unheard of.

study time at our house

They come from a single parent family and live in a one room wood house with dirt floors. In this one room house, they live with their mom and 4 older sisters, two of which have babies. They're older sisters are lacking an education as well, but these three have a chance to succeed. This is Pablo's third year in first grade. In the past, no energy was put into him . Nobody told him that he could succeed or that better yet, he should succeed. Last week he came to show us his exam scores and he had passed all of them with flying colors. Our goal is to get him out of first grade this year and he is on his way. We've probably seen this family change the most because of the help they've received. They're all really smart, but nobody has put the effort into them. Their mom is illiterate, like most indigenous women in the community and it's hard for her to help them with any of their work. The kids are attending the only church school in Salacuim and it was really important for their family to have the kids enrolled in a school with a religious background. The teachers work at the school often without getting paid for months at a time because nobody is really paying the tuition for their children. They admit kids, sometimes knowing the family won't be able to pay. It's a bit of a different philosophy than the other schools.

Pablo working on a thank you letter with his mom

One of the favorite exchanges we have had with them is teaching them words in English and for every word we teach in English, they give us the Q'qechi' word. We have started teaching them colors and they already know the English alphabet. This family has kind of turned into a personal project for us and we feel really attached to the kids. With your help, we are sure they will go far.

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new backpacks and school supplies

Paola working on her thank you letter

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