It’s that time of year again, when children are heading back to school and settling into classroom routines. For children around the world, schools can represent a safe place where they can begin to explore their potential and meet adults who care about their success.
At many Children’s HopeChest CarePoints, schools are also more than just a place to receive an education. Each layer of support offered at CarePoints builds a foundation of stability. This is especially true in Guatemala at the My Special Treasure Educational Center (MSTEC), which is a Christian school dedicated to providing holistic support for children whose parents work in the local garbage dump.
In addition to education, the center also provides nutritious meals for the children who attend to help improve their nutritional status and get through the long days of studying. Health is also a high priority at MSTEC, and each child is able to receive medical attention on average of three times a year to address any health issues that may come up. Spiritual support is also provided, and as trust is built between teachers and students they have the opportunity to mentor and speak encouragement to the children and their parents.
But that’s not all! MSTEC also provides vocational training to prepare young adults with a skill that they can use to gain income and move closer to self-sustainability. The hope that is provided through the vocational training is life-saving. When children learn a new talent through a skilled mentor, they can begin to frame their future in opportunities.
Currently, there are 28 ninth and tenth grade boys who are attending the auto-mechanics training course at MSTEC!
Specific trainings such as accounting or secretary skills are a part of high school in Guatemala, but this vocational course at MSTEC is quite special for numerous reasons.
The students not only learn the skills of auto mechanics, but they also receive customer service training, learn what good prices are to charge for their services, and how to create and complete necessary paperwork for an auto mechanic business. Additionally, they learn how to professionally clean a car.
The teacher is from INTECAP, a well-known vocational training center in Guatemala. Having a teacher from this school is incredibly helpful for the students because many companies will only hire people who have graduated from INTECAP for certain positions. The teacher owns a car mechanic shop and a used car shop. He uses his experience to teach the children how the business moves in Chimaltenango and how to step into a new mechanics job with the basic skills they are learning at MSTEC.
The students who want to learn more and continue this path may have the opportunity to go to college and learn a higher level of professional skills, or develop from others’ experience by working for them.
The goal for the students is that they can either start a small business right after graduating high school, get a job at a car mechanic shop in town, have a skill that they can use to pay for their future education, or support their families with this job. Another option they have is opening their own car wash, which has a lower initial investment than a full car mechanic shop.
MSTEC provides much more than an education. It provides hope for the student mechanics who are learning that their futures are full of opportunity.