Ernesto is the youngest of 6 children, deprived of a father figure and brought up by an illiterate mother, the family tradition is to work on the land. When he is not attending school, Ernesto immerses himself in the familial work: sowing and cutting coffee beans in the nearby fincas of San Lorenzo el Cubo, in order to contribute to the household income.
Education was not something valued by him or his family and at 9 years old, Ernesto is only in the first stage of his second year of primary education at El Porvenir. When he first enrolled at the school he was constantly absent to the extent that our social workers had to visit his home to speak to his mother, and take him his schoolwork, no matter what time of day it was.
Despite his absences and lack of familial encouragement, Ernesto’s natural intelligence allowed him to integrate himself into the school and keep up with his peers. As time progressed Ernesto’s knowledge and literacy was improving and he was beginning to love “his school”, as he called it. Last year his mother decided that Ernesto’s help was needed at home and she tried to remove him from the school, but he refused. Protesting against his mother’s wishes for his desire to complete his education, he said that nothing could stop him going to school. Since this little blip, he has never been absent again.
At the beginning of this school year his mother was preoccupied with work in the coffee farms and could not enrol Ernesto into school. She had to rely on her illiterate and alcoholic older brother to enrol him. Despite previous preoccupations with wishing to pull Ernesto out of school, his mother later stated “we are not going to take Ernesto out of school, because he and we alike want him to continue here.”
His teacher describes him as “strong-willed, positive, intelligent, mature, responsible and considerate.”
The support and work that we, at Niños de Guatemala, are able to provide, successfully transforms the life of a child forever, and thus that of his family and community. The realization of the projects of Niños de Guatemala at El Porvenir brings a positive change to the future of a community.