Thanks to the hard work of one of our former volunteers, Ethan Birchard, you are currently viewing the new and improved El Nahual website, which we hope will be more user-friendly. Check back frequently to read our weekly blog, browse through our photo galleries, and keep track of what´s going on every day at the center via our calendar. It is a work in progress, so bear with us over the first few weeks as we get a few kinks sorted out here and there, and please leave your ideas for improvements in the comments section!
This year, El Nahual Community Center reached a critical juncture in our development as an organization. As many of you know, we were able to purchase a plot of land near our current location on the outskirts of Quetzaltenango in 2007. This land is the site of our future community center, which we are building day by day, brick by brick. Having our own building will ensure that we will no longer lose a substantial portion of our income every month on rent. We are committed to expanding our current programming in this new building, which will house the Manos de Colores after-school program, an accelerated primary school for adults who never had the opportunity to complete their formal education, a free or low-cost primary school for local children, a family health clinic, a daycare, and a free public sports field. This major next step is coming closer and closer to reality, and we hope to be moved in to our new building soon after the New Year! Our philosophy is ¨educating for social development¨, and we are dedicated to serving children and families through thoughtful, creative, and innovative instruction which they may not otherwise receive.
In the midst of constructing our new community center, we continue to run Manos de Colores for children and adults at four sites in Quetzaltenango. We established a unique partnership with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sponsored a wonderful event called ¨Niñas Valores¨, honoring girls from 18 local primary schools for various academic, civic, and humanitarian achievements. This cultural exchange drew a crowd of over 2000 people and featured speeches, an orchestra, and traditional dance performances. October 1 (Dia del Niños) saw our celebration of the FIFTH anniversary of Manos de Colores! Children from our partner schools La Cuchilla, Canton Candelaria and El Nahual´s after-school program enjoyed an afternoon of outdoor games, snacks and prizes at the zoo. There were approximately 130 children present—a milestone achievement that would have seemed out of reach when El Nahual was founded in 2004. Finally, the second group of students from our Accelerated Primary School (Manos de Colores Adultos) graduated with their official diplomas on October 31, ranging in age from 14 to 65. This was an incredibly proud moment for our pupils and their families.
However, we cannot accomplish any of these important objectives without your help. Please consider donating as much as you can, and asking your friends and family to do the same. Construction of our new community center is nearing completion, and for the building to continue we must purchase items of substantial size and cost. With your support, we can purchase the doors, flooring, windows, and labor that we need to finalize construction!
For your ease we have established an online Click & Pledgesystem which allows you to calculate the total costs of your donations in US dollars and wire the money directly to us via a secure server. Please note that we are charged administrative fees for the use of this online system, so we ask that you calculate 6% over your total sum in order to cover these fees (example: for a $50 total donation please pay $55 to ensure we are not charged). For those who prefer not to wire money, we can also accept checks in US dollars. Simply send your post via airmail to:
Asociación de Centro Idiomas El Nahual
27 Avenida 8-68, Zona 1
We thank you for all of your help as we continue to expand our programs and offer creative, thoughtful instruction and social support to families in Quetzaltenango. We could not continue this important work without the ongoing support of our incredibly dedicated and talented group of volunteers and staff.
For a glimpse of what our volunteers have been doing with the Manos de Colores programs at all four sites in Xela, check out this short video, created by a couple of our fantastic volunteers this fall (thanks to Tuyen Nguyen and Andrew Paroissien).