Bridging the Gap International: Silvi's Dream
Organized by: Tiffany Smith
This is Silvi on her fifteenth birthday with my sister and me. She is an average teenager who loves One Direction and selfies. She is from Zone 18 in Guatemala City, the Capital of Guatemala. This is one of the poorest and most dangerous sections of the city. Every day they run out of water from 10:00am till 2:00pm and sometimes they go days without water. Extortionists are everywhere threatening business and families to pay monthly fees. Bus drivers have been murdered for the cash on hand. This May it was so bad the city shut down all the buses and the only way in or out was to walk to a less dangerous zone where the buses were running. Imagine these challenges being a part of everyday life.
Sofia is Silvi's mom. With the help of family she has raised Silvi by herself, barely making ends meet. She is a courier who runs errands for select businesses. Two years ago she fell off the bus and broke her ankle. She was off work for seven months with no pay and accrued many medical bills. During those tough times when there was no income she had to take out a second mortgage on the property left to her family. She has not been able to catch up and every month is at risk of losing the family plot.
In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs there are five levels of need that a human needs to function. The foundational level includes: food, drink, and shelter. The second level, Safety Needs, includes protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, and freedom from fear (1964). Zone 18 does not provide even the basic foundational needs for humans. As you can see Sofia and Silvi are unable to function to their fullest potential because their basic needs are not met due to poverty.
According to Ruby Payne, an educator of more than 20 years, "two things help individuals move out of poverty—education and relationships (2005)." I met Silvi when she was two and have watched her grow into a fine young woman. She excels in school and is a natural leader. She hosted the mother's day assembly and was Mary in the schools rendition of the Passion of the Christ. Without funding for her education and repaying the second mortgage this amazing young lady will become lost to poverty.
Silvi finishes primary school in October. In Guatemala primary school is Kinder through 8th grade. After that there are two choices: attend a career focused school (which is not paid for by the government) or find a job in an unstable community. This is what Silvi is facing: joining the work force at 15 where there are few jobs and dangers of a young girl traveling alone or being able to attend school to become a flight attendant which has always been her dream.
I am asking for $12,000 dollars. This covers the debt on the house and will pay for all three years of Silvi's career training. Can you imagine being able to help break the cycle of poverty? To give a family the means to live the life they have dreamt of but never thought possible. All it takes is a donation.