Mi Refugio (“My Refuge” in English) is a school set high on a mountain just outside Guatemala City. To reach its gates, a bumpy, twisting road must be traversed, making it the prize at the end of an arduous trek.It is exactly what the name implies to the children who attend classes there: A refuge, one they desperately need. Theirs is a birthright of poverty and despair, disease and illiteracy. The social and economic unrest in the country is a near guarantee that without some intervention the future of a whole new generation will be very bleak indeed.
Mi Refugio provides two meals daily, which in many cases is the only source of nutrition for these kids. They are clothed in neat uniforms, given backpacks and school supplies. They are taught hygiene skills and manners. It is a Christian school, so the children learn faith.
The biggest gift the school endows upon these young, impressionable minds is hope. That’s right; they’re taught that if they do the right thing, study hard and look toward the future with an open heart, that maybe—just maybe—they have a hope for a better life. A future that doesn’t depend on existing, but living. A way to leave desperation and poverty behind and step into the beautiful Guatemalan sunshine that, too, is part of their heritage.Mi Refugio nourishes small bodies and bright minds. It dispels darkness, even temporarily, and instills hope and faith. It opens doors to the possibility of a brighter future for children who would never otherwise have those doors open to them. It gives these kids a chance to flourish despite terrible odds—and, in the end, isn’t that what we all want for every child, everywhere? A chance to learn and grow…and succeed.