Thursday, October 18, 2012

Aníbal's Story

Anibal, ready for school
One of the children who attends the Family Support Center (formerly la Guardería) is Aníbal. Aníbal, 12 years old, was born with microcephaly and is significantly developmentally delayed. 

He first came to the Family Support Center (FSC) in January 2010.  His mother stated that he did not speak and he appeared very shy and sensitive.   Aníbal had never attended school or other project and on his first day at the FSC, he cried and did not want to be around the other children.  Throughout the year, Anibal attended the FSC daily, playing with toys, putting together wooden puzzles and listening to stories.  Aníbal became more accustomed to being with the children and began to verbalize his thoughts. 

After one year at the Family Support Center, Aníbal had made significant strides both socially and verbally.  The project’s social worker and Aníbal’s mother agreed to enroll him in Escuela Xelaju, a school for children with special needs.  With a scholarship from the Pop Wuj Scholarship Program, Aníbal began school in January 2011.  Foundation Todos Juntos also supports the Pop Wuj Scholarship program which funds 135 partial scholarships for students in primary school, secondary school, and university.  Aníbal’s scholarship covers daily transportation expenses and the $1.50 USD per month school tuition.  

Playing at the Family Support Center
Aníbal is now finishing his second year at Escuela Xelaju and he loves going to school in his uniform and being with other children.  He still attends the Family Support Center in the afternoon.  Aníbal is outgoing and talks to his friends, the employees, and the volunteers at the project.  He loves Curious George books and swinging on the swings on the playground.  Thanks to the generous donors and the projects supported by Foundation Todos Juntos, Aníbal is able to continue making progress both at the Family Support Center and at Escuela Xelaju.  

Troublemakers, L-R Julio, Guayo, Arturo, Anibal

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

El Dia del Niño

Monday, October 1st was Guatemala's celebration of "El dia del Niño," or "Children's Day." It is a day where we celebrate all of the kids and they get to eat lots of sweets, play games and maybe get a present or two. We celebrated the holiday at the Family Support Center on Thursday, so that any of the Pop Wuj students could join if they wanted.

It was a fun filled afternoon! We set up an impromptu movie theater for everyone and had a viewing of one of the greatest kids movies of all time: Toy Story. Everyone was given their own personal bag of freshly made popcorn, or "poporopos." The movie was a complete success, and is just as funny and inspiring in Spanish as it is in English. Chocolate covered frozen bananas were passed around after the movie, and each kid received a beanie baby as a small gift.

It was another cheerful and celebratory atmosphere at the Family Support Center. In the middle of a very rainy week here in Xela, the celebration of El Dia del Niño proved to be the perfect mood lifter.