To the Friends of the Bella Vista children,
When I heard on the news, that last year alone 1.6 Million Guatemalan people left their country for the United States, I thought: " nobody would leave their home and country just for fun". The majority of the indigenous Maya who have no land to cultivate any crops, are still the poorest in Central America. It's because of political will and the system of their society in Guatemala, which cause this problem and which we can't change.
But what I am convinced of is, that we have the ability to improve the quality of life for a small group of young people, the " Bella Vista children" ! Imagine theses families who live in Highlands of Guatemala, close to their town of San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan. Their homes are built in the middles of the coffee fields on the steep slopes of the foothills on San Pedro volcano. To reach them you walk along footpaths through the high coffee bushes, which open up here and there where 3 families live, each in one room with an outdoor kitchen. As you walk further along, the field opens for the next families. The poor conditions they live in don't change much, but I remember the time when they had no running water and now in the last 5 years, families got together and pay for water pipes to be installed. Here and there you will see a television.
They view our world in which we live and yet we all can say is, "That's not my problem" and " it's so far away, they have to solve their needs or their government should". Instead the fathers go away and try to seek a better future to support their families at home. Nobody in the Bella Vista district knows what problems lay ahead for them.
I firmly believe that through education, we can stop the migration of their children to the promising world of the United States. And this process starts in the Elementary School of Bella Vista, which was completed in the middle of these coffee fields. The children love their new school and identify with it.
Through your donations, we can buy the schoolbooks for all classes (as none are supplied by the government) along with money for the school breakfast program which will serve 103 students this year. Now the Bella Vista district is noticed in the town of San Pedro where the students: take part in school Olympics, walk in the parade on the National Day, learn to speak Spanish after 6 years of Elementary School (in addition to their Mayan language), so that they will be able to function in society.
With your help, while we have been able to hire teachers for English and music lessons, as well as cooking classes, we still need a teacher for computer lessons. Donated computers are now standing around with no use. While these are ongoing requirements each year, I can further report the progress we are making:
34 students are sponsored (12 in Elementary School, 8 in Middle School, 6 in College and 8 in University). If I tell you, that we have students studying the following professions, you may not believe it considering the circumstances that these young people come from:
medicine, a teacher for handicapped children, a school psychologist, a teacher for Junior High, a music teacher, law, administration and computers ! They will face a future other than their parents and that is the only way to stop emigration from their own communities and countries, into a supposedly better world.
We urgently need "breakfast sponsorship" because every year more children come to the Bella Vista School.
If you want to help, here are some options:
A breakfast for a student = $ 100,-- per school year
A textbook and school supplies for one child = $ 50,-- per school year
A warm blanket for the cold nights = $ 12,--
A water filter for a family or a classroom = $ 20,--
A sponsorship for a student to Grade 9 = $ 240,-- per school year
A sponsorship for a College student = $ 400,-- to $ 700,-- depending on the career
A sponsorship for a University student = we bring together several sponsors.
A part time teacher for computer lessons would cost $ 100,-- monthly, you can donate towards this cause, too.
Many thanks to you all, helping these young people from the Bella Vista district to a future.