Blanca Fuentes Maldonado has been a defender of the rights of children and adolescents for 14 years, since she joined this Foundation that develops socio-educational programs that seek to build a more just, equitable and democratic society. "We respond to the educational needs of children with a preferential option for the most disadvantaged," said the middle school teacher, who is also a member of the Continental Commission on a Socio-educational Proposal called Educating in Difficult Times.
"Many children in the program would be involved in gangs if they were not here, because they live in an area that is vulnerable to criminal groups and easily get them involved in the sale of drugs or extortion fees," she said.
Currently, this educator is the promoter of the Xajanaj Kahalepana project (Build together, move forward together, in Poqomam), which educates children vulnerable to gangs.
She was born on September 27, 1954, in Los Tres Reyes neighborhood, El Tumbador, San Marcos. In 1971, she moved to the capital to begin her studies to become a school teacher and then teach psycho-pedagogy. She holds a diploma in Strengthening the Local System to Protect Children and Adolescents in Guatemala.
During her adolescence, she witnessed the internal armed conflict in San Marcos and heard the outbursts of the bombs in the mountains. Her father had a shop and, with much fear, he had to supply the needs of both guerrillas and members of the Army.
In 1990, she supported the communities in resistance and was part of the dialogue movement for peace agreements. In 2003, along with Gloria Alonso, she analyzed the rights of children in Chinautla, specifically in Santa Faz, Jocotales, and San Julián, which evidenced the lack of access to education for minors. This motivated the program.
Promoting human advancement
Blanca Fuentes highlights the projection of the Foundation in the last 13 years, thanks to the work done by a group of professionals, all connected to the Teresian Association, a lay association of the Catholic Church whose members seek to promote human advancement through education and culture.
They have an educational program, a library and a playroom. They also help in the updating and training of public school teachers, a computer room and, together with Effort and Prosperity Foundation, they maintain a community center for children like a day nursery.
From 2006 to 2016, the foundation chaired by Fuentes Maldonado helped 1,531 children to improve their learning; and 332 children and adolescents completed primary. Also, from 2015 to 2016 she awarded 30 scholarships to students of different educational levels.
She has also involved 1,443 children and teenagers in vacation school programs, contributing to the training of 861 teachers, in search of a better quality of teaching. In addition, 415 children of working parents attend the children's community center.
Pedro Poveda Foundation for Education and Human Advancement emerged in the country in August 1997 and operates in San Julián, Chinautla.
The entity belongs to a Latin American network that leads the program Educating in difficult times.
The Foundation supports projects financed by the international community, and this year, with public funds from Spain.
Poveda (1874-1936) was a Catholic priest, an educator, a Spanish writer, and he founded the Teresian Association. In 2003, he was canonized.
During his seminary years, he lived in the caves of the village in Guadix, Granada, Spain. His love for the poor was such that he moved to live in one of the caves among them. He was martyred where the Cemetery of Our Lady of the Almudena is located now, in Madrid.
Oscar Felipe Q. Prensa Libre, Guatemala