Lemonade International Blog

Human rights education in La Limonada


For the past three months we had the pleasure of working alongside Emilie, a college graduate from Lyon, France, with plans to get her masters degree. She lived in Guatemala working with the Attorney for Human Rights and volunteered her time in the schools of La Limonada as well. She explained to our students and teachers the rights they have and shared the importance of making sure they are respected.

Below are some words of reflection from her beautiful experience.

I came into La Limonada, for the first time, afraid but curious. I was this little french girl, coming out of nowhere, and getting into a part of the city that even guatemalans don’t visit.

Nobody knew me, but people treated me like a friend and invited me inside their homes. After visiting a few houses, I had to run outside and sit on the street to avoid fainting.

“Make yourself at home,” they kindly said. The heat is unbearable, it’s dirty and it smells bad, there is no intimacy between a few beds for 5 people. All of this inside an area no bigger than twelve square meters. Anger, incomprehension and injustice took my breath away.

Studying International Law, I’m aware that 30% of the worlds population is living in a slum and the situation is not getting any better. But it is still a culture shock when you are from one of the most developed countries, where dignity is an inalienable right protected by the whole of society.

My role was to explain to Guatemalans the rights they have; particularly womens’ and childrens’ rights. While doing this, I felt sickened when I found out about all of the illegal practices and discrimination Guatemalans have to face every day.

Nevertheless, these have been the three happiest months in my life. I worked with amazing people, totally devoted and passionate. More than a team, they formed a family, where mutual aid and joy are unlimited. I met children with huge capacities. I met people surviving in extreme poverty conditions, but yet, being the most respectful and welcoming people I’ve met. They have nothing, but they are still full of hope and love. I felt complete and happy, and now I’m back in a depressed rich society.

I miss them and I thank them for this great lesson of life!

Thank you, Emilie for your love and dedication!

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