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Safe Passage Blog

Graduate: Carlos

"One day, 2 Safe Passage social workers arrived at my house in Zone 3 near the garbage dump to talk to me about the benefits of joining Safe Passage. I was in 6th grade at the time and studying in another school. Both of my parents had died and I had been taken in by my godmother but she has recently died too. Despite these hardships, I graduated from Safe Passage in 2011, specializing in business administration. My graduation was perfect. I felt relaxed and calm because I knew that after so many hard years of studying I had made it. Now I work at an insurance company called Seguros Universales.

Then and Now: Daniel

Daniel Antonio Gonzalez started in the little church with Hanley so long ago that he can't remember what year it was. Both of his parents worked in the garbage dump when he was a little kid and he had tried enrolling in public school but was held back a grade. "I was more interested in playing soccer than studying." Volunteers began helping him to learn and Daniel quickly began passing and excelling in school. He got extra help from volunteers in mathematics, his favorite subject. Daniel went from a family working in the dump to being a member of Safe Passage´s first ever graduating class in 2007 with a specialization in computer science.

Then and Now: Luis

"My name is Luis Solis. I started attending Safe Passage in a tiny little church in front of the garbage dump in 2000 with about fifteen other kids. I was going into the garbage dump to collect recyclables because my family was very poor and I had to help them. Hanley came to our little house and talked to us about my education. That's when I joined Safe Passage. I studied hard. I owe so much to Hanley, she saved me from the dump.  A lot of other of my friends dropped out of Safe Passage for different reasons, but their studies at Safe Passage really helped them. We have stayed friends. I focused on accounting in high school and did a "practicum" intership with the Guatemalan Congress.

Then and Now: Juanita

Juanita Gaspar Tzalam is the manager of the bodega which processes and stores supplies here at Safe Passage. The project simply would not function so well without her! She organizes all the materials for the classrooms, the offices and all of the programs at Safe Passage; from pens and pencils, to planners and envelopes, spray paint for Urban Art Club  and soccer balls for sports. She also organizes the in-kind gifts that arrive and directs them to the right department. What many may not know is that she worked in the Guatemala City garbage dump.

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