Vivian, better known as Vivi, has lived for 32 years in the garbage dump community. Her story demonstrates her transformation process throughout the years.
“In 1990, when I was six, I went to Potter’s House for the first time. I participated in the Treasure’s Club on Saturdays. My mom couldn’t provide an education for me, but in 1991 I became a beneficiary of Potter’s House’s Education Program. This was a great opportunity for me since I couldn’t continue attending school. They helped me with my school supplies and lunch meals every day. I was able to continue to study and finish elementary school in 1997.”
“Due to my age I couldn’t continue middle school, I was considered too “old”. However, Potter’s House gave me options and one of them was a “Higher-Age Study Program”***, where I was able to get my High School GED in 2004. This was my chance to grow as a person and develop the gifts God gave me.”
*** The “Higher-Age Study Program” is an option for students who cannot go to school every day. The program is accelerated by teaching two academic years in one.
According to the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, in 2015 the school-desertion rate was 38% or more than 196,000 students. Vivi could have been one of those 196,000 students who had to quit school, but she wasn’t. Her situation changed when she got the opportunity to assist our community center where she had the resources and support to be developed. Vivi acquired knowledge and skills that empowered her to serve her community.
“In 1997 I started to volunteer as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Education Program as a way to thank God. This new experience motivated me to continue to dream big and one day become a teacher. I knew that becoming a teacher would not only help me but also help my community because I would be helping them get out of economic, spiritual and intellectual poverty.”
“The opportunity to study opened many doors for me. I was able to support my community and be a role-model. Through Potter’s House, I was able to strengthen my relationship with God. I had to guide the children I teach on how to start or continue their personal relationship with God. Potter’s House has taught me to depend on God for everything. This lesson has helped me in my role of community leader which I became one in 2000. It has been a pleasant experience because I can be useful for the people I serve.”
The process of transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In order to develop the Treasures, it requires several years of continuous work and the willingness of the Treasures. If they take advantage of the opportunity, their effort will bear fruit. As was the case in Vivi’s situation. After 13 years Vivi is empowered with skills and abilities to impact others outside her community.
“In 2002, after 6 years as a volunteer at Potter’s House, I decided to look for a job elsewhere. Thanks to God’s provision, for five years I worked as a head teacher at an educational institution. It was a wonderful experience, but I didn’t feel satisfied. It wasn’t a place that honored God.”
Vivi decided to search for an opportunity to serve her community as a teacher, trusting that God had a perfect plan for her and wanting to be a role-model for her son. Diego Andree. One of the goals of Potter’s House strategic plan is for community centers to be run 100% by members of the communities.”
“In 2014 I decided to return to Potter’s House. They welcomed me with open arms and love. I started as a facilitator in the Nutrition Program, but this wasn’t my vocation and in 2015 God gave me the opportunity to be a teacher in the Education Program. I was very happy because I was where I always wanted to be. This opportunity improved my economic stability thus benefitting my family. In addition, I can teach my community endless ways to improve their living situation. Being a teacher helps me guide future generations, especially my son, and be able to empower each one, so they can have a better future.”
Vivi’s journey is just beginning, there are still many challenges and dreams. However, she now can use her skills and capabilities to continue her process of transformation and thus impact her family, community, and nation.
“For 2016 I planned to finish college, study English and learn more IT skills. I want to keep fighting so that my son has successful future. I thank God for putting me in this community because I have been able to overcome hardships and I have become someone who generates changes in her community. I also thank Potter’s House because it has always loved us, the TREASURES. They gave me an opportunity to become professionally and spiritually a better person.”