Last month we celebrated the graduation of 43 boys and girls in our Adolescent Health program with the participation of the British Embassy, who funded the program.
Monday morning each and every one of our 43 adolescent health participants were gathered in San Juan to participate in the official Adolescent Health graduation ceremony. After five months of learning, sharing and interacting, the students were finally ready to receive their certificates, committed to serve as youth leaders in their communities. With a bright and expectant smile on their faces the ceremony began with a trivia based on the program curriculum, and led by the British Ambassador to Guatemala Carolyn Davidson:
“How does a pregnancy occur?”
“A person who feels an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction for people of the opposite sex is classified as…”
“What does a healthy relationship consist of?”
“How can we communicate with our partner in an effective way?”
After hours of recapping, playing and laughing, the day ended with a celebratory lunch and speeches by our Executive Director, our Program Manager and the students. From starting out quiet and shy, the students now took the initiative to stand up and publicly thank their Health Promoters, ODIM and the Ambassador, which is amazing in itself. For our wonderful Health Promoters and Project Coordinator, Betty Perez, this day was the conclusion of all of their efforts throughout the last five months, leading to reflections on challenges and impact. I asked Betty to share some of her insight with us.
“I am very honored to have been able to collaborate with the British Embassy in order to educate the youth of our communities about their bodies and their rights, and I am excited about the impact we have achieved with the forty-three students that just graduated. When we started working with this group of adolescents the participants were really shy and they didn’t want to participate in the sessions. It was a huge challenge for them to express themselves and to answer the questions we asked them. But as time passed their participation increased and they began to ask their own questions. I am very proud that we managed to earn their confidence as well as the confidence of their parents, who started out worrying about their children and being skeptical about what we were teaching them. But in the end they were grateful to ODIM, because we are the only organization in the communities of San Juan and San Pablo that works with youth, and the only people addressing such important themes. – Betty Perez, Adolescent Health Coordinator
The parents’ confidence is essential for the sustainability of the program, so we are happy and satisfied with the outcome, and we thank the British Embassy for making this possible.