We have made the difficult decision to postpone our annual Fulfilling a Dream dessert fundraiser given the recent outbreak of Covid-19 virus in our region. Your health and safety are very important to us. The event is being rescheduled for the autumn and more details will follow.
Filling a Much-Needed Gap Nicolás Fund for Education focuses on providing education for the indigenous Mayan youth of the Ixil region of the Guatemalan Highlands. We are filling a much-needed gap in educational services in the region, where the government-funded education in Guatemala averages only four years and ends after 6th grade. Only three out of ten children graduate from 6th grade. Our brand new preschool is showing amazing results; our secondary school is growing; our students are attending school through higher grade levels than in the past and our graduates are going back to their villages with the skills and knowledge they need to build thriving communities. Through scholarships and learning opportunities, we are helping lift vulnerable students out of poverty. They, in turn, are returning to their homes and villages to become leaders and help break the cycle of poverty in their communities. The big news for our secondary school Nicolás Christian School is a new home. In 2019 we moved to new temporary quarters in Nebaj until we can move into our permanent location near Cotzal where NFE has purchased land. Our permanent building should be ready in two years, depending on our fundraising. We are currently serving 124 students aged 7th through 11th grades in leased space at Centro Technologico Ixil (CTI), a building owned by the nonprofit Agros International. What is the relationship between Nicolás Fund for Education and Agros? Nicolás Fund for Education is a 501 (c) 3 organization with a mission to equip the young people of the Ixil region with the skills and knowledge they need to become the future leaders of their communities. Agros is a separate 501 (c) 3 organization …
As we continue to grow and expand, sharing our stories on social media and our website becomes more and more critical as we reach new people. Some available volunteer positions available are: Story Content Coordinator – If you love sharing and hearing great stories from our villages, then this is the position for you! We need someone to talk to people who have gone on trips and write about their favorite and most meaningful moments and connections with our students and their families. These written stories and associated pictures will be the basis for our newsletters and social media posts. Social Media Volunteer – Are you a social media wizard and want to put your talent towards supporting our kids? Do you have a young friend who would love to learn how to create a social media campaign for a non-profit? Then join our social media team where we share two or three times a week on Instagram and Facebook!
Principal Braulio hired our first preschool teacher, Rosa Maria, this week after a unanimous decision from the hiring committee. She’s spending this month being acclimated to Nicolás Christian School and training to support the specific needs of our villages. She speaks the native Mayan languages of Ixil (the native language of most of our villages) and Quiche (the native language of San Nicolás village). Praise God that we found such a wonderful and qualified teacher!
Nicolás Fund for Education is excited about the early childhood education pilot project that will be launching in July 2019 in the village of San Nicolás! This program is being funded through a special grant. We feel investing in early childhood education is critical to building strong foundations that will benefit children throughout their academic experience. Students learn important social skills such as listening, sharing and cooperating, and become accustomed to a structured environment. Early childhood education has been shown to increase a student’s attention span, expand their vocabulary and learn preliminary math skills. Scientific studies consistently show the benefit of early childhood education in terms of enhanced language development, increased reading and math academic scores and cognitive and emotional benefits. These students will have an opportunity to learn some Spanish language. The pilot program will take place in the San Nicolás Early Childhood Development Center, located near the San Nicolás primary school. Nicolás Fund for Education is partnering with a Guatemalan organization called Crecer. Crecer is providing equipment and training for our programs. Beatriz Ruano de Dominguez from Crecer held a two-day training session in May for Nicolás Fund for Education graduates interested in education, and those students will have an opportunity to work in the Early Childhood Development Center as Teaching Assistants. Bellevue Presbyterian Church Early Childhood Development Director Lisa Phelps organized a book drive for the preschool and parents contributed books that our July 2019 team will be delivered to the school. This pilot program will benefit 14 village families and 26 children between the ages of 0 and 6 years old. Three separate programs will be offered. Parents and children 0-2 years old will gather to learn …
A critical part of the education at Nicolas Christian School is the carpentry program. Started by our country director Ivan Espan, students learn practical carpentry skills to help make them employable after graduating from high school. Unexpected and even more important benefits are the problem solving and teamwork skills it takes to complete a project. While working with their hands is not a new concept for our students who help out in their families’ fields, the task of making desks and chairs for Nicolas Christian School and the new preschool programs was the perfect challenge for our students. Check out the beautiful results!
By Barb Martin – Friends of Villa Hortencia Uno Luciano Castro Tum begins the morning at 4:30 am weaving cloth to be sold as part of the family business. He is a 9th grader in Villa Hortencia 1 where he receives his lessons via distance learning from the Nicolas Christian School in Nebaj. Luciano, a 20-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity to attend school past 6th grade. He is a member of the first graduating class of 9th graders in Villa Hortencia 1. It takes approximately 4 hours to weave one section of cloth which will be sold in San Juan del Quiche, a 2-hour walk over the top of the mountain and then a 4 hours bus ride to the market. In November, Luciano graduated from 9th grade at the ceremony in Nebaj. He is now excited about completing the first ever 10th and 11th grades. His goal is to graduate from University with a degree in engineering. He is the top student in his class with a promising future thanks to the donors who support education in the Ixil area.
Villa Hortencia Uno – Gail Hall, Chapel Hill Church When I first traveled to Guatemala in 2009 I thought I was going on a beach mission trip – how fun! Instead, I landed on top of a mountain at the end of a road, in an area largely forgotten by the world and their country. Despite the death and destruction all around them from the civil war, the Maya people survived with their faith intact. I fell in love with these people and the land, now coming here 1 to 2 times a year. In fact, I told the villagers once that my husband thinks I have a boyfriend here as I go so often to visit them! The more I came to know the people in this village, the more I realized that despite all our differences we share the same dreams for our children and for their futures. Dreams of health, education and a better life. I now have watched the children of VH1 grow up, from crazy kids running around the fields to well-behaved students excited to be a part of the new future. I am so thankful and excited that through the Nicolás Fund for Education, middle and high school is now a reality for those families willing to take a scary step and encourage their children to be a part of a new future. The villagers of VH1 all give their thanks to us and pray that God will bless us for our help. One of our students summed it up beautifully: “The goal that I have is like a dream, and now I can reach that dream so my goal becomes a reality. ” …
We have 35 new incoming students for the class of 2025 at Nicolás Christian School: From Los Angeles: 13From La Bendición and San Felipe: 7From VH1: 6From La Esperanza: 5From El Paríso: 3From Belén: 1
New year, new seventh graders, and new partnerships! Nicolás Christian School starts their new school year in mid-January and we already have an eager batch of seventh graders ready for middle school. Would you, your church, or your small group be interested in sponsoring the new students from a village this year through eWAVE’s “education with a village”? This program gives you the opportunity to support a small batch of students from a village on their educational journey. Get to know them personally through mission trips, video conferencing and personalized communication. Supporting them through donations, visits, communication and prayer shows our students how much they are valued and cared for. This partnership can be scaled for any budget – check out our website for more info and contact us with any questions!