Updated: Mar 8
Do you ever wonder about the impact what you do has on others?
I do. As the founder and president of Cadaniño, I feel responsible for ensuring that the work we are doing, with the donations that people send us, is being used wisely, responsibly, and in a way that genuinely helps the 200 students in our program.
We know from the student’s grades, the way they advance through the computer classes, and the verses they memorize that our classes are helping them, but just how much further into the community the ripples of what we do goes, is something I think about a lot.
The following story, written up by Eduardo, the coordinator of the Santa Fe center, helped me understand just how much greater our impact is.
The Cacaó family has been in our program for several years.
They are an indigenous Q’eqchi family of Mayan origin from Alta Verapaz. They moved to the city so their children could have better learning opportunities and asked to enroll their children in our program when they realized that the education they received at school was inadequate.
Their two children, Fredy, 11 years old, is in fifth grade, and Indrid, 12 years old and in sixth grade, attend public school and have been enrolled in our afterschool programs since 2018.
They live on a piece of land down a ravine in the back of Colonia Santa Fe, a geographically dangerous location on a cliff known as Las Esmeraldas. To attend our program, every day, they must walk 250 steps up the side of the cliff and then another .5 KM to get to our center.
Despite the challenges involved, both students have almost perfect attendance over their time in the program.
When they first enrolled in our program, they received a standard academic evaluation. The results showed that both students had significant learning challenges, could not read and write well, and were not at their respective grade levels.
Their learning challenges are compounded by the fact that their mother is illiterate and the father working long hours as a mason.
Besides participating in our Bible and computer classes, we ensured that they received special attention in our Educational reinforcement program, and little by little, the results are paying off.
They have learned to use computers, type, use Microsoft office applications. They can complete reports and homework on the computer, investigating, writing, compiling, printing them out, and submitting them to their teachers for good grades.
They enjoy participating in Bible classes and can look up any verse you give them.
Their school situation, like so many around the world, has dramatically changed with the Covid-19 crisis. Distance learning has been implemented, but there are few options for students to keep learning when their family has no computer or internet access.
In January of this year, Cadaniño decided to open the doors of our center in the mornings so the neediest families, whose children have no resources available, can come in, connect online, and do their school work at our centers with the help of a teacher.
For both Freidy and Ingrid, the Cadaniño ministry has made the difference in enabling them to continue their education and kept them from dropping out of school like 107,000 students in Guatemala did last year.
But the impact of our program doesn’t stop with the children. Though illiterate, Doña Aurelia has always had faith in God and a desire to evangelize others. She told us that having her children in the program has helped her to learn more about God, primarily through the Bible studies we send home with the students.
Her children share what they are learning with her, she listens to audio recordings of the Bible and shares them with her neighbors.
Through her efforts, a small community of believers has come together to form a church where they live.
During a recent home visitation by our staff to check in on the family, Doña Aurelia commented on how grateful she was for all that we do, not just for the regular programs her children participate in but how we have been there to care for them.
She said that the help we provided last year through food bags when the country was on lockdown and her husband couldn’t work kept them alive and got them through the most challenging time in their lives. It made her see that God still loved her, cared for her, and had not abandoned them.
When I read this story, it was such a great encouragement to see how God is using the Cadaniño ministry to impact the lives of our students and their family and the people that their family is now ministering too.
Now imagine multiplying these results over by each of the 200 students in our ministry, and you can see just what an amazing impact we are having, not just in the lives of the students, but in their families and the neighborhoods where God has called us to serve.