lasmanos sign betterIn Guatemala children with physical and mental disabilities are seen as a burden, especially among the poor, where families have no resources to address the needs of these children.

The rural public schools are overcrowded and under-resourced. Many teachers hold a teaching certificate equivalent to a high school diploma. Even for the teachers who have their hearts in the right place, they are inexperienced, untrained, and unprepared to teach under the given conditions. Children with more severe disabilities never get the opportunity to go to school. They are often hidden away in their homes. Others are sent to school, but without the necessary support they need to succeed. They fail and eventually drop out.

Special education can be an expensive and complicated issue to address. Many schools don’t accept these children because of the cost. We at Las Manos are in an extremely favorable position at this moment to begin supporting children with special needs. The El Hato public school happens to have two excellent teachers trained and certified in special education. They were randomly placed in El Hato and are assigned to primary classrooms. We also have an old friend who works with severely disabled children at Asociación Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro in Antigua who can assist in getting the El Hato students evaluated. The El Hato teachers experienced in the area have agreed to help in the development of individual work plans after the children are assessed. The local resources are in place to implement the program. Las Manos will need to hire and train a teacher to work with the students one-on-one and in small groups.

With only $3,000 we can provide basic support for our 1st and 2nd grade students with special needs in 2015. $2,400 will pay a part-time teacher for ten months and $600 will provide appropriate learning materials for the students.

If you would like to contribute to this new and much needed component of our educational programs in El Hato, please visit our website for ways to donate.  With your donation, mention that you would like your donation to go to the Special Needs project.

Thank you for your support!