Love Conquers All: Teacher Marries Policeman in Stunning Ceremony

Becci Merritt Blog 1 Comment

Teacher Petronila Ramos (‘Nila’) was married on Saturday, January 14th! She married Juan Garcia, a policeman, in San Juan Cotzal. Nila looked exceedingly happy. Nicolás Fund for Education National Director Ivan España and his wife Jeanneth attended the ceremony. According to Ivan España, many people attended the wedding, and all NFE staff were among the guests. Ivan explained that in Ixil culture the bride’s family gives attendees a soda and a piece of bread. The bride then leaves to go to her husband’s home, and another party is held there. Guatemalan custom is that traditional receptions are hosted by the groom’s mother at their family home, with all guests from the ceremony in attendance. The groom’s mother welcomes her new daughter-in-law into the house and family. In the doorway of the home, a bell filled with rice, flour, and grains is hung to symbolize financial prosperity. As soon as the bride and groom enter the house, the groom’s mom breaks the bell and wishes the couple well! Nila’s mother, Juana, is reportedly quite pleased with her daughter’s choice of husband and hopeful for her daughter’s happiness.

Remembering Pedro Davíd Pérez Sambrano: An English Teacher Who Made a Difference

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With tremendous sadness, we announce the tragic and unexpected death of our beloved English teacher, Pedro Davíd Pérez Sambrano. Pedro Davíd, 25 years old, was riding his motorcycle home in the dark two days before Christmas. A construction truck had illegally parked on the road near the Los Angeles village with no warning cones or lights. Pedro Davíd collided with the truck and was likely killed instantly. Pedro Davíd is survived by his parents Diego and María (La Bendición), brother Eduardo (USA) twin brothers Gaspar (USA) and Juan (La Bendición), and Nicolás Christian School 10th-grader Angel Gabriel (La Bendición). As is the custom in Guatemala, Pedro Davíd’s body was in Diego and María’s home for visitation the day after the accident in a beautifully carved wood casket. Friends of the family brought food and provided support. The funeral was held in the home and broadcast by loudspeaker to the entire village. Nicolás Christian School Senior Coordinator Noé Molina conducted the funeral service, and many of the Nicolás Christian School staff and some students attended the standing-room-only service. (School was not in session because of Christmas break.) Pedro Davíd was given a posthumous award and received the Teacher-of-the-Month award in 2021. Following the funeral, attendees walked to San Felipe Chenla where Pedro Davíd’s body was interred. Pedro Davíd graduated from Nicolás Christian School and then from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala with a degree/PEM certification in Education. Pedro Davíd was fluent in Ixil, Spanish, and English. He was an inspirational teacher for our students, always willing to help, and a terrific team member at Nicolás Christian School. Pedro Davíd, a strong Christian, indicated that one of his strongest values was humility. …

Impacting Ixil Youth

Kathy Riper Blog Leave a Comment

The act of giving can be transformative for both the donor and the recipient. Your donations to Nicolás Fund for Education are positively impacting the Ixil youth. Not only are kindergarten children getting an early start to a good education, but 28 junior high and 15 senior high graduates received their diplomas in November. We also have senior high graduates pursuing their career goals at the university level and some who have already received their college degrees. We hope that you feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that your contributions are changing the trajectory of the lives of the Nicolás Christian School students and graduates. When they become parents one day, they are more likely to read to their children and encourage them to study. They are more prepared to find jobs that help them provide for themselves and their families. We often hear from the students and graduates how grateful they are for the opportunity that NFE has given them to receive their education. NFE could not do this without your faithful and generous support. We know that education is what is needed to break the vicious cycle of poverty in the Ixil region. You are giving hope to these young people and their families for a brighter future, and we are grateful for you! May God bless your Christmas, and the New Year bring you and yours peace and contentment!

Nicolás Christian School Lifts The Whole Community

Holly Boone Blog, Impact Trips Leave a Comment

Nicolás Christian School lifts the whole community. That’s what I would tell you if I could tell you just one thing about my recent trip to attend graduation ceremonies at Nicolás Christian School in Guatemala. This fact was evident on our first day in the Ixil, a rainy Sunday morning when we drove the rutted roads to the tiny village of San Nicolás to attend graduation at the village preschool. Nicolás Christian School established the preschool a few years ago, and as you might expect, the children were predictably adorable. (See for yourself in the video.) It struck me that all the thought and effort that went into the ceremony—providing tiny caps and gowns, decorating the cinderblock school room, strewing the floor with fragrant pine needles and flowers, the presence of us visitors, the speechmaking, the many verses of the Guatemalan and US national anthems we sung or tried to sing—sent the important message that education is important. Your child’s education is important. Your education is important. I was pleased that the ceremony also recognized several women and one man who had completed an adult literacy course also run by Nicolás Christian School. I have always been impressed by the extensive continuing education Nicolás Christian School offers free to all area primary school teachers each July. This program helps improve the quality of education for all students in the Ixil, even those who never attend Nicolás Christian School itself. In the muddy little village of San Nicolás, a cheerful, loving preschool and an adult literacy program confirmed my belief that Nicolás Christian School greatly benefits the wider community, many more people than the students in its classes. The next day, …

Donate & Double Your Impact

Becci Merritt Blog, Partner Leave a Comment

As we transition into our season of Thanksgiving, knowing that your donation will be doubled is a wonderful way to give a student a hand up out of poverty through quality education. A very generous donor has offered to double your donation up to $65,000! Every donation will be doubled until that total has been achieved. You can double your impact with your tax-deductible donation today!

Spread the Word about Nicolás Fund for Education!

Becci Merritt Blog Leave a Comment

Nicolás Fund for Education has the BEST, most loyal donors that any nonprofit could ever wish for! The only problem is….we need more of you! Would you help us by spreading the word about why you think NFE is a nonprofit worth supporting? Spread it in whatever way you want this month: word-of-mouth, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, or Pony Express! Just get the word out to someone who might not know about NFE. We have a special opportunity for you to help us on November 29, Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global movement that inspires millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Support can take many forms: volunteering, donations, and prayer support. All are welcome! Here are three images that you may use to communicate about NFE to others. You can let people know that our mission is to empower Mayan youth to break thegenerational cycle of poverty in Guatemala through Christ-centered education. Giving Tuesday on November 29th is the perfect opportunity to send a message to your friends and family about why you love Nicolás Fund For Education. Thank you for your help!

Help Us Bring All 150 Students Back in January 2023!

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You are making a tremendous impact in the lives of Nicolás Christian School students! Students and Graduates are becoming entrepreneurs, and some are independently securing their grants and microloans to pursue different types of farming enterprises. Our July 2022 team saw more than six greenhouses producing the most beautiful Roma tomatoes. Nicolás Christian School graduate Antonio is working in the greenhouses. Their first harvest was 100 lbs. of tomatoes! Some graduates, like Sucely Jenyfer, are successful business owners in Cotzal. Sucely Jenyfer currently has a plan to go to baking school so that she can open a bakery…in addition to her successful clothing shop in Cotzal! Nicolás Christian School students have options Other students who don’t have a desire to attend university in the future have a new option to transfer to an Intecap trade school after 9th grade. Nicolás Christian School currently has ten scholarships to offer that cover tuition at the Huehuetenango campus. Intecap trade schools have an excellent jobplacement rate after graduation. Our graduates have hope for a better future because of the education you are providing for them. Hope for a better future is key in this part of Guatemala, recognized as the #1 area for youth suicide in the country. To fully fund the 2023 academic year for 150 students, Nicolás Fund for Education must raise$174,000 by 12.31.22. This would require 58 donors to donate $3000 before 12.31.22. We also have a new option for donors to make a total pledge towards the 2023 academic school year that can be paid in installments as long as the last installment payment is received by 12.31.22. For more information, call Becci Merritt at 425.243.3709. Make a donation …

Nicolás Christian School Students Celebrate Mayan Culture in Welcoming Ceremony

Becci Merritt Blog, Impact Trips Leave a Comment

The Nicolás Christian School students provided an outstanding B’a’n Etule (Ixil forWelcome/Bienvenidos) ceremony for the Nicolás Fund For Education July 2022 mission trip members. Students shared an unprecedented display of beautiful Mayan traditional clothing from various parts of the Quiché Department and different Mayan people groups in Guatemala. The precious clothing was borrowed from the mothers and relatives of our students for this very special presentation. In the video, students shared traditional clothing from these areas: Elisheva – Cotzal (home to the Ixil Mayan community) Britalin – Nebaj (home to the Ixil Mayan community) Ana – Sacapulus (home to the Sakapultek and K’iche’ Mayan communities) Evelin – Quiché (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Madelin – Zacualpa (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Yesica – Chichicastenango (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Delia – Totonicapón (located in the Totonicapón Department, home to the K’iche’ Mayan community. 37 miles from Nebaj) Teresa -Santa María Chiquimulá (located in the Totonicapón Department, home to the K’iche’ community, 55 miles from Nebaj) Cristel – Xela (Quetzaltenango), home to the K’iche’ community, 46 miles from Nebaj. Brenda – Santiago Atitlán (close to Sololá on Lake Atitlan, 53 miles from Nebaj. Tzutujile Mayan community) Hilda – Cobán (located in the Alta Verapaz Department, 52 miles from Nebaj, home to the Q’eqchi’ Mayan community) We were honored to experience this presentation that accompanied by Mayan dance. It waswonderful to see our students celebrating and sharing their Mayan culture! Take a virtual trip with the July 2022 mission team and browse through our trip photo album. Would you like to experience first-hand the colorful Mayan culture, meet our students, families and faculty, and see the new school being …

Ronaldo & the Carpentry Program

Kathy Riper & Estuardo Sánchez Blog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

Ronaldo lives in San Juan Cotzal and is a 10th-grade student at Nicolas Christian School. Ronaldo has become one of the top Nicolas Christian School carpentry students and shared with us how his carpentry classes have helped him develop skills that he will use in the future to pursue his dreams. Ronaldo appreciates how the teachers explain the importance of using caution with the tools and machinery. He says, “I thank the teachers who support us when they see that we have difficulty doing something.  I want to be improving day by day. What I have learned most is that it is necessary to cut exact measurements so that we do not have mistakes”.  What he likes about the carpentry program is that they must devise everything before they start to manufacture a piece of furniture. They make their design for different types of furniture, but with the supervision and help of the teachers who explain how each project should be started. “The skills I learn in carpentry I will use in my future life because my mission is to study and know more about carpentry, and my vision is to become a great construction engineer so that I can fulfill my dream, and thus become a great professional in life. Thanks to Nicolas Christian School for providing me with the study I need,” says Ronaldo. Ronaldo realizes how important his math and art classes are. In fact, one of his favorite subjects is mathematics which is useful for his carpentry projects. Other favorite classes are English, project management, and Christian leadership.  “I like math because it helps us solve problems. I like English because I think it is necessary to …

New School Construction Has Begun!

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Thanks to the lavish generosity of many donors, Nicolas Fund for Education [NFE], in collaboration with Building Goodness Foundation [BGF], has begun construction of the new school in San Juan Cotzal! Sebastian Martinez is the onsite Field Manager hired by BGF. He has been busy preparing the land and meeting the Guatemalan Staff including Ivan Espana, NFE National Director, shown in the photo above. The parcel of land in San Juan Cotzal contains many beautiful trees. Wherever possible, these trees are left intact. In the specific location of the school classroom building, it has been necessary to cut and clear some of the existing trees. Lumber milled from these trees will be used for doors, window frames, and other construction needs. Nothing is wasted. A storage shed for materials, equipment, and supplies was built on the property. Stay tuned for many upcoming milestones in the construction project! The July Impact Team will get a first-hand view of the progress. When completed, the classroom building will allow NFE to serve up to 300 students for middle school and high school academic programs. It will also serve as a hub for community outreach programs of tutoring, distance learning, vocational programs, University partnerships, adult literacy programs, and preschool education. Thank you for partnering with us on this exciting journey. Your generous donations have made it all possible.