SHARING THE DREAM
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala is a nonprofit organization that promotes fair trade with cooperatives and small businesses in Guatemala. The organization is committed to providing fair wages and employment opportunities to low-income artisans which results in creating sustainable markets for their projects. In addition, Sharing the Dream in Guatemala is dedicated to promoting projects which benefit the general well being of rural Guatemalan communities. Sharing the Dream is currently sponsoring 4 projects in Santiago Atitlan, a children’s library, a rural school, an academic scholarship group for students in need, and an elders’ center.
THE OPEN DOOR CHILDREN’S LIBRARY
The children’s library of Santiago Atitlan was designed to create a comfortable and inviting space for local children to explore literature, improve their reading skills and discover the joys of reading. 44% of the Guatemalan population is illiterate and this percentage is much higher in rural areas. Reading for fun is a habit which is often neglected and books are hard to find. The center encourages alternative learning such as reading clubs, puppet shows, and story hours.
Sharing the Dream has partnered with the Open Door Library founder Karen Hedrick,a retired California teacher, in sponsoring the library. We have a local staff that not only works with children, but also hosts seminars for teachers to motivate them to integrate creative teaching styles into their daily curriculum. The reading center is open 4 days a week to the general public and welcomes individual class visits.
How can you help?
The children’s library gratefully accepts monetary donations. A $15 donation can sponsor the transportation for 2 class visits to the library. Our wish list includes Spanish books for children, a computer, patio furniture for our outside reading area, and funding for internet.
Volunteers are needed to share books, music, and art with local children. Volunteer opportunities also exist for cataloging books and organizing the library.
CHACAYA RURAL SCHOOL
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala is currently collaborating with the parent committee of the community of Chacaya Santiago. Chacaya is a remote village which will soon benefit from the construction of a new school. In January of 2007 Sharing the Dream was successful in purchasing land for the new school. In the mean time, Sharing the Dream pays the rent of the land the school is now on and covers the salary of the 1st grade teacher. Sharing the Dream also contributes to this community with donations of school supplies.
How can you help?
Donations are needed to cover the costs of salary of the 1st grade teacher for the second half of the year. $135 will sponsor a teacher for 1 month. Also, funding is needed to pay for the rental of the school’s land. School supplies, books, soap, and sports equipment are also appreciated.
Volunteer placements can be arranged for individuals who would like to work with rural educational development.
SANTIAGO SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
While primary education is free in rural Guatemala, many families choose not to send their children to school in fear that the extra costs of uniforms and school supplies will be too expensive. Post primary education is Guatemala is not free which hinders a child’s opportunity to continue with his or her studies after completing the 6th grade. Sharing the Dream Guatemala currently sponsors 15 children in Santiago Atitlan of different ages and hopes that they will be the future leaders of the community. In order to qualify for a scholarship, students must display academic achievement, volunteer in the Sharing the Dream center, and come from a family in need.
How can you help?
With a donation of $20 a month, you can share with a child the gift of education.
THE ELDERS’ CENTER
The Elders’ Center of Santiago was created to provide a warm, open, supportive and loving environment for the senior citizen community of Santiago Atitlan. While many projects exist to support children, the elder’s center is one of a kind, as elders are often overlooked as a group in need.
The elders’ center is currently open 3 days a week. Primarily the seniors gather to receive nutritious hot lunches and to reunite with members of the community. Throughout the year, the center is also used to celebrate other cultural festivities such as an annual Christmas party for the elders.
Chonita Sojuel (a local Santiago woman) is the founder of the Elders’ project. For many years she has dreamed of creating a senior center in Santiago Atitlan. She began her project 10 years ago after receiving a monetary donation. She bought dried food goods with it which she distributed amongst the elders to bring back to their homes. 5 years ago, Sharing the Dream, a US organization based in Vermillion, South Dakota, partnered with her project and she was able to host monthly food distributions for a group of 50 elders.
Today, she is witnessing her dream come true as the elders of Santiago flock to her center for a safe haven, a warm meal and to be in her loving presence.
How can you help?
Any donation would be appreciated. Monetary donations can help supply the kitchen and eating areas for the elders. With a donation of $10 a month you can generously sponsor a Santiago elder throughout the year.
Volunteer placements can be arranged for individuals who would like to help prepare and serve meals to the elders. We also welcome groups who would like to share creative activities with the elders such as musical and theater performances or arts and crafts projects.
How Can I Help?
Donations for the Santiago projects can be sent to
Friends of Sharing the Dream
125 E. Main, Vermillion SD 57069
All donations are tax deductible. Sharing the Dream is a 501c3 and 100% of your contribution will go towards the designated donation. Please write on the memo line of your check which project you would like to sponsor.
For more information, contact Amanda Flayer, the Santiago Sharing the Dream coordinator at email@example.com