Agustin’s Story: “What My Education Means To Me”

Last week I sat down to talk with Agustin, a bright 17-year-old who will graduate from Básico (middle school) this November. His personal story and dedication to his education are inspiring.

Life has not been easy for Agustin, and he has already faced many tough challenges in his short life. His father passed away as a result of cancer when Agustin was a young boy, leaving his stay-at-home mother with the overwhelming job of raising four boys alone. Never having access to an education, Agustin’s mother had never learned to read or write, and the family’s situation was dire after his father died.

For several years, Augustin struggled in school. He lacked motivation and focus. Social Worker Berta Garcia visited him at home at least once a week to offer encouragement and remind him of the importance of education. Berta’s years of dedication seemed to pay off when, much to her amazement, Agustin experienced a complete turn-around at the beginning of this school year. Agustin started arriving to class on time and completing all of his homework. As Agustin’s attitude shifted, his grades also improved. His classmates have noticed, too, and he is now seen as a leader amongst his peers and a positive role model for the others.

So, what happened? Agustin explained: “One day I woke up and realized that I could not continue being immature. My mother means the world to me, and I want to be able to support her when I’m an adult. That is why I decided to change.

“My brothers work in the carpentry business. They work long hours and often become sick as a result of the lack of health and safety rules. I do not want to put my life at risk, so I decided to start my own business. In my free time, I make art out of old car materials and then sell them on the street during the weekends.

“Education is important, because without education I would not be able to make the right decisions for my future. My dream is to become a physical education teacher, so I can give my mother everything she needs and also start my own family. But for right now, I want to focus on my studies – that is the most important thing for me.”

We are proud of Agustin’s accomplishments and all he is doing to dedicate himself to his studies. Next year, Agustin hopes to continue studying to make his dream of becoming a teacher a reality. The NDG community can’t wait to see what his future holds!

What Mother’s Day is like in Guatemala

Mother’s Day, or Día de la Madre, takes place on the 10th of May in Guatemala. This holiday shares the same purpose all around the world, but the ways of celebrating differ from country to country. Today we want to tell you a bit more about what Mother’s Day is like in Guatemala. With special thanks to our volunteer and Spanish student, Myrte Kok, who took the time to conduct an interview about el Día de la Madre with her Spanish teacher Gladys.

Gladys tells us that Día de la Madre is very important in Guatemala. “Mother’s Day is celebrated to recognize all the work that mother’s do. Not only around the house, but for the children and their husbands as well”.

Myrte and Gladis

In Guatemala, single-parent families are quite common. These Super Moms and dads deserve some extra appreciation and acknowledgement. As Gladys says: “Many mothers should be admired, as they are a mother and a father at the same time. There are also many fathers in Guatemala that will take care of their children as the mother is not around. Día de la Madre is a celebration for them as well”. What is important is that the hard work and care of every mother figure is recognized and celebrated on this special day.

“On the Día de la Madre, most mothers have a day off in Guatemala, because their children do not have school. Remember that their teachers are mothers too, and thus they do not have to come to work on May 10th”. What is interesting is that instead of the kids, the mothers go to school on Mother’s Day! Especially for them, a cultural morning is prepared by the kids. They have prepared acts like dancing or poems dedicated to their moms. The mothers go to school to enjoy all of this and a refreshment.

Besides this, it is tradition to have a family dinner in a restaurant on the Día de la Madre. There are no typical types of food. You’ll just have whatever mom likes best! “All the restaurants are filled with mothers, and they all do something special. They give flowers, for example, or the desert is for free”.

Breakfast is less important, but also special. For once a year this is prepared by the kids, because it is (as Gladys says) simple: “black beans, eggs, plantains, cheese, creme and orange juice, coffee or hot chocolate, nothing more”. Whatever you would call simple! At breakfast mothers receive their gifts. When the children are younger they will make these at school. It is rare that they get to use new materials, but with some creativity and imagination beautiful gifts can be crafted.

Myrte asks Gladys if she has anything to add about the Día de la Madre. Gladys reminds us of the most important thing: “the bond between a mother and her child is one without a specific purpose or goal. It is a pure kind of love. We cannot compare it to the love from a husband or boyfriend or any other person. Never. In no case. Mother’s Day is a beautiful day, but for me every day is special and so every day should be a Día de la Madre.”


To celebrate and support the moms of Guatemala, Niños de Guatemala developed a special Mother’s Day campaign. If you donate via GlobalGiving now, you will receive a special Certificate of appreciation which you can give to your mother on Mother’s Day. This certificate includes a personal thank you note from one of our moms and a description of the impact that the donation made in our schools. With your donation, we can give the mothers of our students the joy of seeing their children develop. What could be a more beautiful gift to your mother than helping another mom in her honor?

Mother's Day Certificate

Working at Good Hotel is an opportunity to be a good example for my children

My name is Natty. I live in Ciudad Vieja. Two of my six children attend the middle school of Niños de Guatemala. I didn’t have a good job until the school’s social work department approached me and asked if I wanted to join the staff of Good Hotel Antigua.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

I previously sold tortillas from my house. This was a difficult time for me and my family, as my salary depended on how many tortillas I sold that day. I felt frustrated, because I couldn’t give my children what they needed. 

I am very happy that I was offered this opportunity. For me, this is my chance to break the cycle of poverty, and work for a better future for my children.

“I felt frustrated, because I couldn’t give my children the things they needed”

Becoming a better mother

At Good Hotel I received hospitality training. I am now responsible for serving and preparing breakfast and beverages for guests.

Working at Good Hotel has enabled me to grow as a person and be a good example for my children.

“I want my children to study, so they can achieve more in life than I did”

If it wasn’t for Niños de Guatemala, my life would be very different. I wouldn’t be able to send my children to school.

I have become a better mother – I now push my children to study because I want them to achieve more in life than I have.

Niños de Guatemala Sciences Po

Niños de Guatemala Sciences Po is a student association in Paris that aims to raise awareness about Niños de Guatemala and to raise funds for the NGO. Throughout the year, we organize various events such as the very popular “Fiestas Latinas”, a picnic or a theater performance. Last summer, five of us had the opportunity to volunteer in the schools in Guatemala. It was very rewarding to put names to the kids we were acting for and to feel part of this amazing organisation.
Last Wednesday, during the University’s Solidarity Week, we wanted the students that take part in our events but also see some of our photos that we took from our time at NDG. That’s why we organized a photo exhibition so the University students can see the reason behind all our activities.
Some members of NDG Science Po were present at the Exhibition to tell more to the visitors about the schools and their experience in Guatemala. We hope to have recruited some more ambassadors and potential volunteers for Niños de Guatemala!
The university calendar is coming to an end but the next generation of students is ready to maintain and increase NDG’s support and activities here in France. In fact, this summer, a group of scouts – including two students of Sciences Po – will be going to Guatemala to volunteer.

Paige – A volunteer and an ambassador

I spent 5 weeks at Nuestro Futuro school. I had the pleasure of working alongside Profe Bernal, and with the wonderful, energetic 4th grade

Pepijn’s Volunteer Experience

I was with Niños de Guatemala for 2 months during Summer School where I gave Field Hockey classes to the kids, it was so fun! The children absolutely loved it and they were so happy. They listened really well and really learned a lot.

I also helped the teacher in giving classes, correcting papers and more – I also gave a few math and English classes!

Besides the work and projects, Niños de Guatemala is very active as well. They organise special social volunteer nights where you meet a lot of new people and have an awesome time.

The people who work at Niños are also really caring. For example, they are on hand 24 hours and will arrange home visit doctors and help with anything else you need whilst you are in country.

Niños de Guatemala is really awesome and would highly recommend it to individuals and groups!

My Guatemala Experience

This summer I was able to travel to Guatemala and teach english to kids..