Look at these little faces and you will see all sorts of personalities blooming. This photo, taken in a Guatemalan classroom of primary students ages four to six, represents all that our readers remember about those first days in school. Scattered throughout this photo are the day dreamers, children missing mama, a few little girls without front teeth and that little guy in the middle with his hood up….he just needs a hug!
These children and millions like them worldwide are starting the only realistic route to a life of self-sufficiency; through literacy.
Every person reading this post learned the basic tools for deciphering words in a classroom that looked similar to this one. Our respective schools had different tools, wall graphics and desks, but the one common denominator we all benefited from was dedicated teachers.
As adorable as this photo is, FFF board members are focused on the face of the young adult in the far back on the right: the student teacher. Andrea is one of our sponsored students, and as such we have paid her boarding school tuition for several years, as well as providing for her transportation to and from her remote village when her school was not in session.
It is always a difficult financial decision to utilize valuable donation funds on one resource versus “spreading the wealth” to other less costly items. Running a nonprofit calls for long-term thinking. Projecting our impact into the future means overcoming our tendency to place a “band aid” on some of the more immediate needs we see on a daily basis.
Andrea has been the beneficiary of Finding Freedom’s benevolence for several years. When she needed a bed, we purchased one. When she was hungry we fed her. When her family needed running water, we paid for men to dig the trenches and place the pipes. Andrea’s desire to be a teacher reflects her understanding of the poverty that her future students go home to on a daily basis. Her family members are survivors of the Guatemalan civil war. This young lady has learned the hard way that a foundation for a successful future comes by working hard. She does not take her gifts lightly. Andrea will use the investment most wisely when, as a future teacher of her own classroom, she teaches her students the skills of resilience and kindness.
A child’s first teacher needs to be picked wisely…teachers are our first role model found outside of the home. An educator can only teach what they have been taught, either in life or in school. We are thrilled to send this Finding Freedom scholarship student teacher out into the community of other Mayan children who will value the same things she does. Charity toward others will be something Andrea knows well, and her students will be better people for sharing her message.