By Carlos Cárdenas
I want to be like you: I want to be a great teacher!
I am the coordinator of the Virtual Classroom of ACD Guatemala, an educational response to the COVID19 emergency. My job is to support the Association’s scholarship children with didactic and technological methods. Education in Guatemala continues to be remote and not very accessible to rural children. There is a technological gap that is causing thousands of school dropouts and migrations. But today, I want to tell you a success story from my students.
His name is Carlos: he is a 9-year-old boy from Todos Santos, Huehuetenango (Border with Mexico). His family fled this place due to violence and extreme poverty. They have thought many times about migrating to the United States but before trying this trip, they decided to come to Xela and try their luck. And like many internal migrants, they arrived in zone 10, without speaking Spanish, his mother language is Mam (there are over 20 mayan languages in Guatemala).
Thus, Mario and all of his siblings had difficulty understanding, speaking and writing the Spanish language. To date they continue to learn. Our task has been to teach them to speak Spanish without losing their roots and the richness of their mother tongue. It has been very difficult to adapt to a school in another language and in another place.
When the pandemic arrived (2020) Doña Basilia (mother) decided to withdraw all the children from school due to lack of internet and computers, even a cell phone and told us that she would possibly send the children to the United States at some time because in Guatemala they no longer had anything to do. So we acted quickly: the solution was to give them a scholarship in a private school guaranteeing the quality of their education partnering with US friends, provide a virtual classroom in ACD for follow-up and a tutor who will guide them in their regular classes and facilitate communication and delivery of assignments with teachers. This has changed the lives of Carlos and his brothers in an incredible and positive way! There have been so many hours of classes and reinforcements, but today Carlos, with good Spanish, told me: Professor, I want to be like you, a teacher! And these words filled me with satisfaction!
Before he was a quiet, isolated child and you could see the sadness in his eyes, but today he dreams of being a teacher and he has written it for me, a memory that I will never erase from my memory and heart, and I want his godparents to not do it either because we have sown education, but above all hope, faith, illusion, dreams, motivation without losing roots, without losing culture, without losing faith, and of course without exposing oneself to risks. Education through virtual classrooms are an incredible answer!
Tell a friend the story of Carlos, he could have been a migrant child walking among dangers, stranded for years in a shelter or exploited by organized crime, but the opportunity of education knocked on the door of his home and today we can only think about that Carlos will be a great teacher!
Become a sponsor of scholarship program Familias Unidas in Guatemala today by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org