A milestone celebration in Guatemala

A milestone celebration in Guatemala

Image of girl receiving graduate certificate In Guatemala, young children walk across the stage to get their graduation certificates and honours such as the mathematics or good conduct award. The community is truly celebrating an extraordinary achievement of their children. These four to seven year-olds have received a basis in literacy and math, achieving an academic level that gives them a great foundation for their primary education. There are many who never attain this level.

We know from our interviews with the parents of sponsored children that these children are the exception. Many others in the community do not have the chance to attend school. The parents are grateful for the opportunity their children have been given and are encouraging them to make the most of it.  

Among those celebrating the achievement of these students are Ed and Nancy Sider.  Twenty-five years ago, Ed and Nancy adopted a daughter from the community of Lake Amatitlán. When Ed saw the poverty, crime and prostitution in the community, he was burdened for those children that remained there.  At the time, Ed was working for Christian Horizons in Ontario.  Similarly, Michael Alemu visited his family in Ethiopia and saw the need there. Together, Michael and Ed gathered a group similar to the pioneers who started serving in Ontario and founded Children’s Homes International.  This organization merged with Christian Horizons in 2007 to become what we know today as Christian Horizons Global.  

Recently, Ed and Nancy were back in Guatemala celebrating all the lives that have been touched throughout the years.  The Christian Horizons Global Head Start Education Program is holding its graduation. Visibly moved, Ed and Nancy handed out certificates to the graduating children (with and without disabilities), as their proud parents beam and applaud. 

This was one of three days spent celebrating the work of 25 years in Guatemala. We also attended a sixth grade graduation in El Moro. This community has over 100 children who are able to attend school as a result of child sponsorship.  

The final celebration was a family-style dinner with the women who live at the first group home Christian Horizons established in Guatemala.  These women were children when our Central America Program Directors Rudy and Sully Rojas and Christian Horizons were asked to intervene.

Today, they eat as sisters, enjoy each other’s company and know they belong in a community that loves them and gives them an opportunity to use their God-given gifts.  

We are thankful that we had the opportunity to not only celebrate this anniversary in Guatemala but to honour Rudy and Sully for their 25 years of service. Rudy and Sully give all the honour and glory to God and His provision for the children of Guatemala.  

Mark Wallace                                            

Director, Christian Horizons Global