SewHope is about offering the people of Guatemala opportunities to improve themselves and their situations. Many times we offer things that are basic rights of all persons, such as healthy food, education and clean water. Though SewHope may offer the opportunity, it is the responsibility of each parent or child or community member to act.
Working together with rights and responsibilities builds a sense of trust among people and communities. Bad situations occur when one person seems to have all the rights and the other all the responsibilities. It is about sharing and equal opportunity.
The scholarshop program offered by Lindsay and Alex Matus, freshmen at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, requires that the parents and students in the program meet with Ismael every month to report on their grades and progress. If parents and students repeatedly do not come to the meetings, they do not receive the scholarship money.
Children and parents in the kindergarten in Purushila are given the opportunity to have a bank account and to save for future education. In order to use this opportunity, coins needed to be added to the piggy bank each week. Employees of the bank come each month to take the money to the bank in Santa Ana.
SewHope brought a woman named Flori to the USA for cancer treatment. When Flori returned to Guatemala her cancer returned. She left behind two children. Dr. Anne Ruch and other persons of SewHope keep an eye out for her children who live in a very unfortunate situation. We take some responsibility for the children's needs.
Ismael is working with a group of people in El Chal to form a legal Association to operate the birthing center that is being built there. This is a wonderful opportunity for the people to take leadership positions and to make decisions that affect the health of their community members.
This kindergarten in Purushila won the prize for being the BEST kindergarten in the Peten region of Guatemala. However, less than 40 students are sent to this school. There are LOTS more kids who could come. Through such things as providing computers to the school, we are hoping that more parents will send their young children to school.
Each of us has a right to participate. Each of us has a responsibility to share. What are some characteristics of a good student? A good team? What responsibilities do you have at home to help your family? At school to help your teacher and classmates?
Though personal health such as toothbrushing is really the responsibility of the parent, SewHope introduced toothbrushing to the children in the kindergarten because they have the right to good health. Hopefully, the children will take this practice home and have their brothers and sisters brush, too.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012