The month of July we’ve had the very special privilege to have Daniela Lombardo as a part of our team. The 26 year old elementary teacher from Toronto, Canada has provided the teachers with daily workshops for the past several weeks. And what a blessing it has been.
Daniela has a special interest for slum communities and after spending the past two summers in the favelas of Brazil, she wanted to learn more. She heard about Lemonade International from Google while searching names of Latin American slums until stumbling upon our website. After filling out the application process and months of preparation, she arrived with intention to ‘teach the teachers.’
Most of the teachers in the schools have no formal training. They do however, have ‘master’s degrees’ in love, understanding, and patience for underprivileged children. Tita continually reminds us that a more appropriate term for our teachers is ‘pastors.’ They have more selfless love than most people I’ve ever met – but unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to ever learn the writing process.
Daniela came with a lot of information to share with the teachers and a strong drive to do so. On Monday and Tuesday, she led one-to-two hour workshops with the teachers at Mandarina, followed with the same workshops with the teachers at Limon on Wednesday and Thursday. During the team meetings each Friday, she would continue with more teaching and some reflection time on what they had learned that week. Daniela taught about the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and how to cater to each within the classroom. She explained the reading and writing process, and gave tips on how to teach hands-on math to all different ages.
In her last week, she finished up with information about Children’s Rights, and what working in the best interest of children means for our teachers. Priscilla, Monica, Sofi and Inna all worked hard to interpret during each workshop. The teachers were more than responsive and habitually stuck around after the classes to ask questions and learn more. They were each given packets with further information about the topics and even posters to hang in their classroom.
While Daniela was here, she saw the need to re-organize the books in both schools – something that only a teacher’s eye could see – to help encourage further literacy practices. The whole month has been more than a success and the teachers have been extremely engaged in the lessons. We have already seen teachers implement their new knowledge and teaching strategies with their students. We’re sad to see her leave but so blessed for the opportunity to have such a hard worker among us.
Another impressive idea is that Daniela has chosen to bring typical Guatemalan jewelry, wallets, and scarves back to her hometown. She will sell the accessories from the central market to her friends, family, and co-workers in Toronto – with all of the proceeds going directly to benefit the schools. Daniela hopes that this initiative will help others learn more about how Lemonade International is helping promote social change through education in the lives of children in the La Limonada community.