I volunteered at Brillo de Sol while on a study abroad in Guatemala for 4 weeks and it was without a doubt one of the best parts of my trip. There is no way to describe the love and happiness shown by the kids and the teachers! I felt so welcome every day that I spent there and I can only hope I’ll get to go back some day.
Brillo de Sol is a unique school in Guatemala, educating many children who, for one reason or another - physical, emotional or psychological - have problems in the traditional Guatemalan school setting. The minute you walk in the door, you can tell that you are in a special place. You are greeted by friendly people eager to help you, and the school mascot, Luna, a former street dog. As you walk through the school, you can see the joy emanating from the classrooms and the school yard during recess ,children helping others who have physical disabilities, and a kindness towards others. My sister and I are sponsoring a delightful student. It is so rewarding to see the strides she has made. There is a real caring for the students, from the Board of Directors to the volunteers.
my name is Edith Ludewig, I was traveling in Guatemala in the end of 2017 and the organisation “DoGuatemala” was showing me some options to work as a volunteer. I was very interested to work with children and since I haven’t been to Antigua at this time I really wanted to travel there. The school “Brillo de sol” was my first choice and I was very happy to get accepted there. Dying the time of working (2weeks) I was living in a host family to get a better impression of the real life. In the school I was welcomed very warm and heart full and I was since the first day impressed from the work they are doing. We so much effort and love they were working to make the children the best school experience they can experience. The school itself is beautyfully self designed, we were playing games and cooking together (one day I was showing one of my favorite german dishes (potato salad)).
I had an amazing time that I will never forget and I would recommend everybody who is interested to work with children to go to “Brillo de sol”.
Greetings from Berlin,
Hola. Soy Ana y el mes de agosto Miguel y yo nos fuimos de voluntarios a Guatemala, en concreto a Brillo de sol. Fue una experiencia maravillosa.
Quiero compartir lo que escribió Miguel, mi marido, en Facebook.
"Voluntariado en Guatemala
Ayer terminaba nuestra gran aventura en Antigua (Guatemala). Hemos estado Ana y yo 21 días de voluntarios con OngVoluntariado en la escuela Brillo de Sol, una escuela de inclusión con muchísimos niños y niñas con discapacidades. Yo he estado con niños y niñas de 7 a 14 años donde he conocido a Fátima con sindrome de Down con la que he pasado muchas horas recibiendo su cariño, con Antony y Kevin dos niños que han buscado en mi la figura de un padre, Josue un niño con memoria a corto plazo pero que en ningún momento ha olvidado darme cariño en forma de abrazos y besos, Dulce tan distante al principio pero que con el paso de los días ha ido haciendo honor a su nombre, Alan y Jesús potenciales futbolistas, Johanna esa rubia de padre suizo que no parecía guatemalteca, Jefferson con rasgos autistas siempre acompañado en clase de su madre, y el resto Angel Luís, Angel, Melany, Diana y Emily. Hemos pasado unas semanas donde he aprendido mucho de ellos y me llevo el mejor recuerdo en forma de cariño que en ningún momento han dejado de mostrarme. No puedo olvidar a Miss Sonia, su profesora que tanto esfuerzo hace cada día para sacar adelante esta clase tan complicada. Muchas gracias Océano (así era el nombre del aula)
Gracias también muy especiales a Mario Cuenca y Gerson de Ong Voluntariado por la labor que hacen en la ONG para que todos los voluntarios nos sintamos como en casa. Y por supuesto gracias también a Paty y Ricardo, nuestros anfitriones que nos han dado de comer y con los que hemos aprendido tantas cosas de Guatemala. Ha sido sin duda una de nuestras mayores locuras pero que nos ha llenado y donde hemos aprendido a valorar lo que tenemos, te das cuenta que con muy, muy poco se puede ser feliz. Gracias Guatemala. Volveremos."
Brillo De Sol is a wonderful organization that truly serves the children of the community and beyond. They enable children of all ages and disabilities to receive an education tailored to their level and needs.
Brillo de Sol was a joy to work with. I got to work closely with the teachers and students for one month and was blown away by their commitment to make sure each child was shown love. A great organization that is much needed in their community.
I got involved with Brillo de Sol through a university-sponsored, six-week study abroad trip to Guatemala, and it could not have been a more fulfilling and enriching experience. I didn't know what to expect before starting with the school, but after my first day there I realized that this was an incredibly important service to be offering in the area: students that otherwise wouldn't be receiving an education and who may be ostracized in their communities are receiving special care and instruction and learning how to cope with their various developmental and behavioral disorders.
Of the kids, I can say that each one that I interacted with seemed as happy as could be imagined at the school - at no point did I hear any of the students complain about being at school. In fact, the school seemed like a refuge for them where they could learn and play in a safe environment with their friends who they might not see very often outside of the classroom. Of the teachers, I'll say that they are some of the most patient, compassionate, and hard-working people I've seen in a school setting, and that they are wholeheartedly dedicated to their students. I had the absolute pleasure to work with Miss Monica in her classroom (Bosque) and to come to know her students very well.
It's not an overstatement to say that my life and perspective were changed by my time at Brillo de Sol. Every aspect, from time spent learning in the classroom and playing with the kids at recess to talking one-on-one with Miss Monica and the amazingly dedicated administrative workers at the school, showed me a part of life that I'd never seen before, and I believe I came away from it a better person. It was remarkably humbling to see the positivity and kindness that emanated from kids that face a hard life every day, and I'm beyond happy that they're able to learn and live in a place like Brillo de Sol.
This school skillfully creates a learning environment with a range of students . More importantly, it imparts a caring, inclusive community with a strong sense of belonging with all students. Inspiring to volunteer here!
I'm a donor who lives here in Guatemala, so I am able to visit regularly. I've watched my student and others gain confidence and self respect through the education they receive at Brillo del Sol. The student I sponsor, through their education , has learned to tell time, to read at a much higher level and a woodworking craft for possible future employment. I am very excited about his future. They make a big difference in the lives of children who were disabled in some way and therefore shunned by the school system and their peers and sometimes by their families. Now they hold their heads high!
I was born in Madrid in 1995. I moved to Ceuta, which is a small city situated in the north of Africa, when I was 10 years old. I am graduated in a degree of Chemistry at the University of Granada. In addition, I am passionate about travelling and everything related to adventure and outdoor sports. I also love playing and taking care of children, but now I love them even more.
I feel really privileged for being during two months in Brillo de Sol enjoying the company of all the kids. Furthermore, it has been an amazing experience as I have been able to get closer to this lovely group of children and know them better seing how special and unique they are.
Thank you very much Brillo de Sol for everything you have provided. I hope you keep doing this great labor during more years.
Of course I am happy to share my experiences regarding Brillo de Sol! I first met Letty and her fabulous teachers and students in 2011 when I went to the school to provide hearing screenings and advice. That first visit sold me on the school, its mission and its devotion to its students. Guatemala offers so little to its students with special needs, and to watch Letty build this program from the ground up has been amazing! We kept going back every visit to the country and in 2014 we were given the opportunity to sponsor one of their students. Since then we have watched our young student blossom into a confident and happy young lady. Volunteering at the school for two weeks this year, gave us a new perspective, as well. The students are happy, tenacious and hardworking, for sure. But they have also been taught devotion and respect for each other. To watch them help their fellow students, whether it is physical help or academic help truly speaks to the school’s philosophy of celebrating individual differences.
I first heard about Brillo De Sol maybe 7 years ago from friends who had retired to Guatemala and ended up volunteering at the school. After the Volcano eruption in June I realized it had been a few years since we exchanged email and I couldn't remember the name of the town, BUT I did remember the name of the school- because they just spoke so highly of it "Brillo De Sol" was my online search after I sent them an email to see if they were alright. I read that the school served children with disabilities and special needs. I remembered they had told me that years ago but had forgotten. It hit home quite hard, because I am now a parent of a five year old son with special education needs. It felt like a sign to me and my husband. We wanted to sponsor a student. We aren't sure where we would be without the teachers, guidance and therapies our son receives in the United States - a right easily taken for granted. I feel a connection to the school through the email updates and the letter i received from Esmeralda. These e mail updates make us feel that we are part of the school family in some way. I think of Esmeralda often and though I know I probably will not be able to travel to Guatemala or volunteer in person I feel blessed to be in some small way a part of this school and everything it stands for. - Erin Perez
Having volunteered at Brillo de Sol for the past 6 years, I have had the joy of watching these kids develop into confident outgoing individuals. To witness their positive changes and personal growth has been amazing.
This is a wonderful nonprofit organization, run by caring and driven people who strive to make a positive difference in the world.
Brillo de Sol does incredibly important work. I've supported their efforts because I believe in what they do.
This non-profit is supporting a school in Guatemala where all children, including those with challenges, are educated. I'm proud to be a sponsor, supporting a student so he can attend school. http://brillodesol.org/Espanol/our-students/
We visited the school in Guatemala, what they did was amazing. Coming from the UK, where money for this type of school comes from the government, you realise what a challenge it is to open and keep this school running. It is modest compared to UK standards in terms of building and facillities. But, the children look so happy in the pictures (we arrived after School finished). Beautiful murals on the wall, an outside area with play things that used initiative as no purpose built play apparatus such as in UK.
Lettie's and the staff office also doubled up as the library and toy store. They do fantastic work for these deserving children whom the government don't support as is a non mainstream school and possibly not enough money to go around for all types of schools.
This had a lasting effect on me, and I support the school financially monthly.
I was able to visit Brillo De Sol in person last summer (2016) and work with their amazing students for an afternoon. It is a remarkably special place - in a country that has very primitive attitudes toward special needs education, their pioneer Principal, Letty, told me that these students all learn in different ways, in their own time and need to be nurtured accordingly. Her passion and commitment were astounding and she has helped create a creative, nurturing learning environment. There is a dog (school pet) and a 'thinking corner' and it's all very bright and cheerful; all on extremely limited resources. All students pay some sort of tuition, although many are from poor families and only pay what they can afford, perhaps a couple dollars a month. It costs about $60 a month to fully fund a student at Brillo De Sol and I'm very happy to be helping a current student. This is a small place - with huge ambition for its students; and, I'm so happy to play a small role in supporting their valiant work.
As soon as you enter the school, it becomes obvious how special a place that Brillo really is.
Letty, Dianita, and Evelyn...these 3 women work tirelessly for Brillo and the children....and its obvious that the children adore them. This loving attitude is present in all of the staff and children. The mission is for the children to be happy, and both the children and adults at Brillo embody this; everyone smiles, acts with kindness, and takes care of each other. It is a beautiful place, doing amazing work to empower and improve the lives of the children and families involved.
Brillo de Sol does exceptional work with exceptional children. The staff genuinely cares about every child, giving them loving, personal attention; carefully assessing their needs; and finding ways to reveal each child's abilities and help them to succeed. Guatemala desperately needs more schools and programs like Brillo de Sol.