- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: Programs


 -Tutorial Program

School is not mandatory in Guatemala and many children do not attend.  There can be a lack of motivation on the child's or parent's part usually because the child must work to supplement the family income or there is no value seen in education.  

The public school system in Guatemala leaves much to be desired for several reasons.  Teachers, in general, have only the equivalent of a high school degree.  There is also a heavy emphasis on crafts and not academic learning.  And most public schools are underfunded and understaffed.  

We started our tutorial program where we focus on education, health and hygiene for the elementary age children.   We have hired a tutor who meets with the children 5 times a week after school.  He explains and augments the lessons from the classroom and goes into more advanced studies.  We are hoping this will give these children the desire for learning that will carry them through middle and high school.

We provide a nutritious lunch, focusing on fresh veggies and protein and always give out a piece of fruit.  This is sometimes the only meals the kids will get that day, and almost always the only place they will eat fresh fruit and vegetables because they are so expensive.

We also teach basic health and hygiene.  The children learn to brush their teeth and wash their face and hands.  They also learn hair care and other basics in health.  We emphasize basic traditional virtues such as the word “gracias.”   Cleaning up after themselves, helping with the chores and concern for the peers and others are part of the values underlying our program.

 -Mother/Toddler Program

We began the Mothers and Tots program after a relative of one of our employees lost a newborn because the mother had no breast milk.  Most the women we work with are unable to breastfeed their children because they are not getting enough nutrition.  Infant formula is too expensive for the families.

For mother's who are breastfeeding we are providing food incentives to help them continue doing so.  We weigh the children every meeting to monitor weight gain.

We began a once a week meeting for mothers and their children 5 and under.  We feed the mothers and toddlers a nutritious meal.  Every other week we distribute formula to at risk infants under one year old.  (We rely on the generous donations of volunteers to keep us supplied with formula.)  The children between 1 and 5 take home a daily nutritional supplement called incaparina.  

Pregnant moms, who usually have small children, get a take-home package ofone egg a day and prenatal vitamins.

We have classes for the adult women on health, women’s issues, basic reading and writing, and virtues. Meanwhile the children get a stimulating child development class.

 -Clinic Program

We built the clinic in 2010 on our land in Los Robles.  We have volunteer medical and dental teams come often to provide the people in the surrounding areas with much needed medical care. We are in the process now of hiring a physical therapist to work out of our cllinic
Education is a must for success in our contemporary world.  Those in Guatemala who have any money at all send their children to private schools.  The Mayan Indians have just come around in the past few decades to the importance of education.  First they began sending their sons to Primerio and now their daughters.  In the communities where we have programs many of the mothers cannot read, write their name, do simple addition or speak Spanish; they have to rely on their children.
Basico or middle school is not free and the cost is beyond the reach of many rural families.  Costs range from $250 to $350 per year which includes inscription, monthly fees, uniforms, shoes, books, typing classes and miscellaneous fees.  
Diversicado or high school is beyond the reach of most rural Indian families.  In addition to the fees which are higher than Basico there is transportation which can often double the total cost.  But it is a ticket into the middle class.  We have heard proud parents say that their child will graduate from Diversicado the same way a working class American family might say that their child was the first ever to graduate college.  
We provide scholarships to children for Basico and Diversicado, who show interest and promise, and graduate from our tutorial program.

- Orphanage 

Although our primary goal is to keep children in their families with our ‘orphans at home’ program, we realize there are some children who have no family to do this with. It is becoming a desperate situation for these children around Lake Atitlan. We have begun construction of a third floor so that we may open the orphanage for those kids who can not participate in our orphans at home program (i.e. no safe home or family structure).  We plan to have the orphanage open in the Spring of 2014.

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