A letter and update from our Founder and US Director, Diane Nesselhuf
I hope you are all staying safe and practicing social distancing. We are all on an unfamiliar road and not sure what the future holds. I know that Sharing the Dream will survive. We have hundreds of people in Guatemala counting on us, and we will do what we can to keep our programs and our staff. We will look for OPPORTUNTIES.
Here are a few changes that we are experiencing. We were doing really well with our two brick and mortar stores but have now temporarily closed them. We have transitioned to strictly online sales for the foreseeable future. We rely on our outside sales for the spring and summer, but all of them have been canceled. This is a challenge, but we need to see it as an OPPORTUNITY to really ramp up our online store. Please shop and pass the word on about our online presence at: www.sharingthedream.org.
Because Coronavirus is a pandemic, we are seeing the affects in Guatemala, too. There is a shutdown of all transportation and the airport is closed. Guatemala relies on the tourist industry, and that has been decimated. There is a 4PM curfew and everyone must be in their homes at that time. This makes it challenging for people to live and work.
We are thinking outside of the box in regards to how we are doing our programs in Guatemala and how we can maintain our staff. Our 60 elders have been told to stay at home, and the staff has educated them on hand washing and given them soap and bleach. The staff has taken food to them twice now. The food will last them several weeks. Without this help our elders would go hungry. We need to look at this as an OPPORTUNITY to work more on sanitation with the elders.
In order to sustain their families, our artisans need to have work. The jewelry artisans have finished up an order for us, and we are hoping to give them another order soon. They are working from their homes. The weavers are working on samples for our fall order. We are looking at this as an OPPORTUNITY for the artisans to come up with new designs and think about new markets.
Although our scholarship students are not in school, we do not want them to fall behind. Our tutors are using phones and other ways of communicating with the students to keep them educationally active. This is an OPPORTUNITY for our students to learn that education is more than a classroom.
In Guatemala, it is sometimes difficult to think outside the box. Most available jobs are pretty black and white, and the school system does not promote creativity. We are working with the staff and reminding them that this is an OPPORTUNITY to be creative. This is a steep learning curve but will help the organization in the long-run.
Thank you for being a part of the Sharing the Dream family. We have some OPPORTUNITIES for you. We know that your family comes first, so please know that we are not putting any pressure on you. Again, we just want to give you some options to help.
Again, thank you for your help, and please stay safe.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.