31
31
6

DIGNA For people with special needs

$4,515 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 21 months
Up somewhere in the mountains that join Escuintla and Cuilapa lives a boy, in a small community called San Ramon. This community is so small it's not even on the map.

His wheelchair is rusty and he sits there, smiling, while his mom cooks over the open fire. He has a brother; it's obvious to me that both have special needs. The older one stutters when he speaks to me, mom only speaks Mam and the situation pulls my heartstrings. This boy, the one in the wheelchair is drooling, his pants are saturated with urine, his limbs are rigid ... That's how he was born they say.

The wheelchair was a donation by the mayor's wife, but it is not in a good state. This boy has never had any therapy, no consults with professionals, probably has never been diagnosed and his family was never given the chance to help him. I think that if I had been here years before maybe his story would've been different and so would mine, but it's never late for stories to take a turn right? I sneak a picture of him sitting on his wheelchair and send it to my friend Amanda. I have tears in my eyes, but I've cried every day since February and I'm trying to keep my feelings in check.

We move around the community, we visit the school. Lynn takes photos and Michelle asks questions and the image of this family stays with me, that boy. Many people with special needs in Guatemala have no services available to them. Most services are in the city and that's expensive for families just making it through the day. So what do you do with a child like that as a parent? Sit and wait for him to die? I couldn't accept that.

So I came home and spoke to Amanda, about how powerless I had felt, how hopeless the situation appeared to be and how I could no longer be a bystander. So here we are, months later, and DIGNA is a reality.

DIGNA hopes to be a platform of inclusion for all people with special needs. Our first goal is to set up a restaurant run and catered by people with special needs. They will be trained, accompanied by our volunteers and paid a worthy salary for their work. They will be taught skills that will allow some of them, to live independently in the future. I understand not everybody will be able to participate in this project, but we hope that with the income generated by the cafe that we will be able to offer services to other people with special needs. I would love for us to start opening cafes all across Guate, but we're not there ... yet!

So today I'm reaching out to you. I'm blessed beyond words and thankfully don't need anything personally, but I need your help. Opening this cafe needs start-up capital. We are hiring a Program Director that needs a salary as she will be living in a house with our teammates, taking care of them and teaching them the skills to be successful in this adventure.

So if you find it in your heart to share some of the many blessings you also have in your life and want to, even briefly, join me on this path that I've decided to walk please make a donation to DIGNA. If not today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next month ... we will be here helping, learning and growing. Join me, after all, we are part of the #sameteam #mismoequipo.

Love,
C.


Photo by Lynn Johnson
+ Read More
We have hired a very qualified full-time director, created a master plan, applied for several grants, met with various industry leaders to get their input, and are beginning our pilot project with two talented adults with special needs. Many good things are coming. Please stay tuned as we help bring purpose and dignity to the lives of individuals with special needs, while also influencing a major shift in the way that society thinks about people with disabilities.

Please keep the people who have been affected by the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in your prayers. DIGNA board members have been participating in relief efforts alongside thousands of Guatemalans who are uniting together to care for our fellow citizens.
+ Read More
We officially have 501(c)(3) status from the IRS! All donations made after December 29th, 2017 are now tax deductible! Thank you SO MUCH to all those who have donated. We had an excellent meeting with four other organizations in our community that are working in some capacity to help improve the lives of adults with special needs. Our interim director is starting to work for DIGNA full-time the second week of April, and we have big plans for this year. We need to ensure that we can pay her salary and invest resources in the cost of finding, interviewing, and training adults with special needs in order for them to find jobs that they love. Please spread the word about what we are doing and help us to make a true impact for the people here in Guatemala and beyond!
The official letter from the IRS
+ Read More
Thank you so much to all of our supporters! Please check out our website to see our specific objectives. www.dignaguate.org
Much more is coming soon as we await approval for our 501(c)(3) status in the US. We are as determined as ever to help people with special needs be recognized with the human dignity that they deserve as we take the time to get to know them and learn about their gifts, talents, and dreams. Thank you for helping us in our quest!
+ Read More
We're starting a GoFundMe for DIGNA. Read my story to learn more about it. The beautiful photos are by Lynn Johson.

Thanks!

Carmen
#sameteam #mismoequipo
Photo by Lynn Johnson
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$4,515 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 21 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
LD
$100
Laurie Dykstra
11 days ago
LD
$100
Lori Dykstra
12 days ago
$50
Spencer Dykstra
12 days ago
$480
Anonymous
5 months ago
RF
$500
Raphael & Amanda Flood
5 months ago
KB
$50
Klaire Brumbaugh
11 months ago
$500
Jessica Iliffe
14 months ago
EB
$500
Elisa Blackwell
15 months ago
BG
$20
Brianne Guynup
16 months ago
SJ
$50
Stephanie Joyce
17 months ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.