A Tale of Strength and Perseverance – Gaby Villagran, Social Worker

We have given our protagonist a fictitious name to protect his privacy, but here we have the brave story of one of our pupils.

“A story of strength and perseverance…”

I am going to tell the story of Erick, an incredible child of 10 years old, the youngest of 5 siblings. He joined the school in 2011, I clearly remember the day; his mother entered the Social Work office to gather information, explaining that she was hoping that her son could begin his studies. He had no prior education, and was thus glued to his mother, he could not separate himself from her and he was incredibly shy.  

And that was how Erick entered first grade, it was a difficult year for him as he was not accustomed to attending school, he was frequently absent or arriving late. For these reasons I had to visit him constantly and there were moments when the parents turned around and said that they would not continue sending him to school because he was always crying and he didn’t want to wake up early. I was always talking it over with them, explaining how important it was that their son continued studying; everybody in the school was looking for thousands of different ways to motivate him.

Despite the difficulties of 2011, Erick completed his year and was doing well in his classes, an incredible feat considering his frequent absences. In that same year, his mother’s health began breaking down.

At the beginning of 2012 Erick was in second grade, and the difficulties continued, his mother’s health continued deteriorating and that same year she passed away. Throughout her illness, there were days when Erick wouldn’t come to school, but we understood that he did not want to leave his mother’s side; it was Erick who looked after his mother throughout the night. Thus, Erick finished the year with more difficulties than he could overcome.

In 2013 he moved into third grade, already with the aim of persevering without his mother, and having little support from his father who was also mourning the loss of Erick’s mother. But Erick was already adapting to his school, and the problems with absence and lateness became a thing of the past, he was always betting that he would arrive the first and the earliest…

Erick is a great kid, with a strong capacity for resilience. He is currently in fourth grade, he loves his school, and his teacher and he is an excellent pupil. He lives with his father who works in the countryside with coffin-production; very often Erick will help his father with his work. His older sister is in charge of Erick’s education and she comes to the school to take notes and attend teacher-parent meetings. Erick receives very little attention at home, but he always remains positive. At school he receives all the support and care that he needs, along with psychological orientation.

All the support and programs that Nuestro Futuro offers to each one of our children help them to overcome different difficulties that present themselves, a continuous aid alongside their studies. And just like Erick’s story, there are many other different situations that have been overcome.

Thank you to all those that help and support the work of Niños de Guatemala and our schools, allowing us to offer more opportunities to our children. 

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