Growing With No Fear in Rural Guatemala

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By Karla Recinos, ChildFund Guatemala
Posted on 5/18/2016
child playing with clay

Olver, 4, plays with clay, one of his favorite activities.

Four-year-old Olver was very shy and scared when his mother started taking him to an Early Childhood Development center in Guatemala’s central highlands.

“He was so afraid,” remembers Hermelinda, a local mother who runs the program. “He was always looking to hide under his mom’s apron. He was so afraid that sometimes he wet his pants!”

Olver’s mother kept bringing him to the center despite his fears because she knows it’s important for him to have contact with other children his age. “Now he is always aware of the day we go to the center,” she says, “and when he is in the activities, he smiles, learns and shares with everybody.”

Olver is the youngest child in his family, with three older sisters, one of whom is sponsored through ChildFund. Today, he’s enjoys going to the ECD center, where he participates in the “Play With Me” project for children age 5 and younger. One day each week, he and the other children play games and do other activities that help them develop social, cognitive and physical skills that will prepare them for school.

“I like to paint and play with clay,” Olver says, “and I already know the songs about the crocodile and the little bean!”

Hermelinda agrees: “I’ve seen him change and see how he is a very social boy now. He interacts very well. I think now he is growing with no fear.”

Learn about ChildFund’s partnership with the World Bank and the Japan Social Development Fund to provide more families in Guatemala with access to early childhood development programs, as well as how you can help.   

Viviana Coló, a field technician with local partner organization Renacimiento, contributed to this story.