We know what can happen when families face extreme poverty. Until international adoptions closed, we connected orphaned and abandoned children with adoptive parents. Often, poverty was one of the factors putting children into our care. We want to preserve families when possible. In 2020, preserving families in San Nicolas meant staying connected, giving towards their needs, and supporting their work.
A Snapshot of Hardship
In a “good” year, many families in San Nicolas struggle. Rodrigo opened his tutoring center in the village because he saw the need for educational support, consistent meals, healthcare, and encouragement. We partnered with him because we share his vision for elevating children and families in Guatemala.
Primarily, families in San Nicolas work in the agricultural, construction, or domestic support sectors. During the early months of the pandemic, transportation was greatly restricted in Guatemala. Many residents lost their jobs. Those who were able planted gardens or continued raising livestock at home. Others simply watched as their food supply dwindled.
When schools closed, children in this community immediately faced massive obstacles to education. In September, the tutoring center resumed classroom support for the children, but nearly two-thirds of their students lack the resources to complete their work. Without internet access, they cannot join classes online. Limited incomes don’t allow families to purchase study guides from the school. And, widespread parental illiteracy further limits the support available to children at home.
In addition to all of these challenges, Hurricane Eta caused significant damage throughout the area last fall as well.
Help for the Families of San Nicolas
The families of San Nicolas needed our help in real and tangible ways.
Early in the pandemic, Rodrigo made the trip to Dorie’s Promise to pick up much-needed supplies for the children at the tutoring center. We purchased supplies in bulk and share with him.
After Hurricane Eta, families were facing even greater needs and their situation was dire.
Due to its somewhat remote location and small population, the community of San Nicolas is often overlooked. They hadn’t received enough aid to meet their needs. As a team, we needed to act.
With help from a few friends, we were able to give a significant gift to Rodrigo and the families in San Nicolas at the end of 2020.
Five families who had been affected by the hurricane received new additions to their homes, complete with concrete flooring to help prevent erosion. They also received new bunk beds for their children, new water filters, and food to help replenish their needs.
A large order of staple food items was purchased and delivered to the tutoring center as well. With Rodrigo’s help, the children who attend the tutoring center will have nutritious meals for the foreseeable future.
And, we made sure all of the children got to enjoy a special Christmas party—4 parties to be exact. Due to the large number of children at the tutoring center, our staff held 4 separate parties, complete with snacks and a piñata to that everyone could come, be safe, and have fun. We wanted to bring fun back to the community as well.
Preserving Families in San Nicolas
In December, we watched as the families of San Nicolas used the gifts we gave them to help themselves.
We purchased and had construction materials delivered to five families, but the community built the homes. A week later, new beds arrived as a gift at the same homes. Rodrigo and a group of local teenagers assembled the new bunk beds for the families. Imagine the excitement of children who finally received new beds.
When our staff visited San Nicolas, the families proudly gave us tours of their homes. This time, our role was to supply the materials for others to do the work. Then, we had the opportunity to encourage and celebrate with the community as friends. Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to bless others.