Spring Appeal 2017
Kids from the public school in Concepcion Chiquirichapa, Guatemala pose for a photo with Patricia Rebolledo and Emily Elizabeth Hill during the February 2017 Educational Tour.
Spring is the time to renew our hopes and faith in humanity, even in the face of the devastating news we read about every day – news that leaves us feeling sad and hopeless.
But I have seen, firsthand, how strong and enduring the human spirit is. I have witnessed the rebirth of communities in Central America and Mexico that had been destroyed after decades of war. I have watched how the fire in the heart of community members, damped down by those same forces, has rekindled and burst into life.
When there was no health care in her village after the 12-year civil war in El Salvador, Maria Elena, a single mother, became a nurse and a midwife. And then there is Miguel, another victim of the war, who rebounded by becoming a doctor to help others in his village.
Both Maria Elena and Miguel are among hundreds of people in their village who suffered immensely during the war, but have gone on to rebuild their communities into centres of resilience and hope.
Thanks to your support, Horizons of Friendship and our partner in El Salvador, the Melida Anaya Montes Women’s Movement, are able to help sustain these indomitable spirits in their task by providing training, resources, and supplies.
We hear about the destructiveness of war throughout the region, and how Horizons and our partners are assisting in renewal. A while ago, I was talking with Ana Beatriz Suchi, an Indigenous Guatemalan woman. I suggested that she and the other community members preserve the photos, birth certificates and other documents of their ancestors to share with the new generation. Sadly, I learned that was not possible - all of those precious mementos were destroyed during 40 years of persecution in Guatemala.
But all is not lost. What the Indigenous people of Guatemala do have besides their will, are the tools to educate kids about their own culture and in their own Mayan language, thanks to the work of our partner, the Santa Maria Linguistic Project.
On our recent Educational Tour to Guatemala, we visited a public school in Quetzaltenango. We toured the classrooms in which the children of this impoverished community are taught in their Mayan K’iche language. With great pride, the teachers showed us the educational materials that contain methodology and exercises in the Mayan language. In the back of the booklets we could see Horizons’ logo and our Canadian flag!
When you join Horizons’ Educational Tour group (like this one in Guatemala last February) you get to see firsthand the work you are supporting.
The Santa Maria Linguistic Project not only put these materials together, but also distributed them in all the schools in the region. This partner promotes organization, collaboration and advocacy to advance school programming that recognizes and respects the values and traditions of Indigenous people. Silvia Maria Chac, the Mayan women in charge of the organization, pointed out that they are actively growing the community of support for intercultural bilingual education as a way to promote the recovery of Indigenous knowledge and language.
At the school, the children sang for us in their own language, and gave us, as a thank you, two-dozen drawings depicting life in their community. Sergio, Julia, Noema, Martina, Celinda, Glendy,ages 7- 11, signed their work, and asked us to thank all of you for supporting education in their country. These are the new citizens in a country ravaged by war. I can assure you that I have seen the hope in their eyes!
The resilience of the people of Central America and Mexico, and their incredible capacity to restore, rebuild and regenerate, never ceases to amaze me. You and I are supporting people who have decided to be empowered by their circumstances and not just victims!
You should feel proud of the contribution you are making to help our brothers and sisters overcome their circumstances and become the movers and shakers of their societies, intent on educating even the youngest members.
Together we have contributed to peace in the region, by creating “pockets of hope” through the projects Horizons supports financially.
When I visit and speak with community members who have been through so much, it renews my faith in humanity. It is infinitely gratifying when supporters like you who accompany Horizons on our tours see firsthand how their donation, big or small, is being put to good use and contributing to a better world.
Our Educational Tours link you with the real people in the region - the ones who put together the projects, the community members who work on these initiatives, as well as those who benefit from them. And they, in turn, are happy to meet the Canadian supporters who are making their dreams possible. Our next Educational Tour is to Chiapas, Mexico, February 2018. Please join us - I promise you it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I ask you to continue to support the efforts of all of our partners in Central America and Mexico who are helping thousands of community members to have a fulfilling life. A gift of $50 or $100 today will help ensure that their good work will continue to make a difference.
With thanks and kind regards,