A volunteer initiative to create one-on-one time for families of siblings and cousins within the NPHG home.
August 12, 2010 - Guatemala
The NPH Guatemala house is a large family made up of many small families – children who come to us with several siblings, cousins, even aunts and uncles. Yet while here, children spend the majority of their time with peers from their house section or classmates from school. There is little built-in time to mix with brothers and sisters, and even less when a child moves to our high school house in Chimaltenango, 20 minutes away.
To create this important built-in family time, several years ago the international volunteer team at NPHG began a new program: Proyecto Familiar.
Proyecto Familiar (Family Project) is a commitment by each volunteer to host, twice a month, a project with a biological family of children. A project lasts approximately two hours, with some held during the weekday evenings and others held on weekends to accommodate our high school and año de servicio students. Volunteers are matched with different families each time they have proyecto, meaning every family at NPH has a turn at Proyecto Familiar about every three to four months.
For children who do not have any siblings in the NPH Guatemala home, Proyecto Amistad (Friendship Project) exists. Nearly identical to Proyecto Familiar, the difference is that for each proyecto these children are paired up with close friends from within the home.
In both Proyecto Familiar and Proyecto Amistad, the purpose of the project is compartir – to share. The point is that for a few hours, children share private family or friend time and personal attention. Kids and volunteers decide together how to pass time during proyecto, and popular activities include baking together, playing board games or soccer together, walking to Parramos together to shop in the tiendas, making crafts together, or visiting an older sibling at the high school house in Chimaltenango.
In addition, volunteers aim to make Proyecto Familiar educational by teaching kids about the world outside of NPH: how to use money in a store or market, how to cook, how to talk with members of their community, how to make their own decisions, etc.
For volunteers and kids alike, Proyecto Familiar is a favorite activity within the house. Each month, children look forward to seeing if it’s “their turn,” and volunteers look forward to learning with which family or group of friends they’ve been paired.
One volunteer, Samantha (USA), explained that “Things can get fairly busy here, but the proyectos allow families or friends a set time to see one another and do some sort of fun activity.”
And Maria (AUS), agreed, adding, “I love Proyecto Familiar. To me, it’s a way for us to come together and feel even more like a family.”