Biking for the Building
Organized by: Corinne Hone
We did it!
March 21, 2017
Biking for the Building
In early May 2015, Poul Karlshoej embarked on a two-year adventure from Singapore to his family’s homeland of Denmark. At that time Poul had no idea the overland adventure in his Landrover Defender was only to be the first chapter in a two part trip, nor could he have imagined all he would see and experience along the way. Events such as assisting villages after record floods in Myanmar or celebrating the Eid festival in Pakistan with a local family had a profound impact on him. These wonderful experiences and the lives he managed to touch helped him to decide to continue his travels from his home state of California to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.
Poul has always had a charitable side and for this trip he set off with over 500 toothbrushes to give away to orphanages, schools, and anyone else that was in need. He also signed up to volunteer for several worthy causes. One of these causes, which Poul has become particularly passionate about, is the Guatemalan Habitat for Humanity project, building stoves and latrines for families living in extreme poverty. He spent two weeks participating in the build of ‘Niños con Bendición’ (Blessed Children), an after school youth center in San Antonio Aguas Claientes, Guatemala. Poul celebrated his 35th birthday with the children performing a rousing rendition of happy birthday using traditional marimbas and drums. Here he learned a little bit more about why these children are so blessed.
Niños con Bendición Youth Center is a home away from home for 32 school-aged children. Here they have a safe haven from violence and the hardships which are prevalent in many places across the country. In Guatemala only 10% of children graduate high school. Instead of being on the streets getting into trouble, they find a safe place where education is valued and they are free to be kids.
In Niños con Bendición the children have dedicated areas with materials to complete their homework. Most days, volunteers from abroad are also available to help them with their homework and provide English classes. Activities do not end here as the center does its best to foster creativity and how to dream big! Kids are encouraged to make arts and crafts and play sports. The children also learn how to play traditional Guatemalan instruments and games that are quickly becoming a forgotten tradition due to westernization. Their music teacher, who is the only official staff member, provides marimba and dance classes. The day is capped off with a balanced meal and vitamins to combat the malnutrition that most of these kids are otherwise exposed to. 50% of children under five suffer from malnutrition in Guatemala.
All these aspects increase the chances that these kids will get a more complete education. Niños con Bendición uses a few different ways to fundraise, but one of its most powerful is a very fun initiative. They share the dances and music they learn on a daily basis with groups of visitors from many different countries. These kids are dancing towards their goals of higher education. It is at this point that people buy into what the youth center is all about! Poul is now one of these people!
Poul is biking for a new building for Niños con Bendición. Niños is currently in the process of building a new, bigger building in hopes of continuing to support the children that attend the center every day. The ultimate goal is to hire teachers to go along with the extra space to further supplement the kids’ education. There are many hurdles, but money is one Poul wants to help with. Therefore, he decided to dedicate the South America portion of his ride to benefit Niños con Bendición and send all the money raised to the construction of the building.
With every donation, these kids are one step closer to completing their new building! For every dollar donated Poul will dedicate 1 kilometer to Niños con Bendición. The proceeds will go directly to three rooms in the new building.
1) The Kitchen - where balanced meals will be prepared in a safe, hygienic environment.
2) The Cafeteria/Arts and Crafts room - a place where kids are encouraged to use their imagination and receive all the materials to do so.
3) The Library - Knowledge is power and through acquiring a love for reading we strongly believe the kids can further supplement their education and awaken the thirst for knowledge.
At the moment, Poul is in Colombia and will continue riding south. So follow his adventures on facebook (desk to dirt roads) and support these awesome kids! We ask you to be a part of this new building by donating anything you can. 5, 10, 20 bucks; it all helps. No donation is too small! Thank you so much for being a part of Niños con Bendición!