Milagro Education Center: Day by Day

Date posted: Wednesday 25 October 2017

For several years, the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala has had a dream to lift up young women, to give them the tools needed to thrive, to give them choices beyond marriage and motherhood at an early age. The pilot program for the Milagro Education Center was begun almost two years ago, but now dramatic progress has taken place. The construction on the dormitory at the Lutheran Center began in September and is progressing rapidly. The project was made possible through financial gifts from you. Designed jointly by Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church member & architect, Bob Ready, and the Guatemalan contractor, Carlos Perez, it will be two stories high, house ten young ladies, and have a private apartment for a live-in supervisor. Beatriz Castillo is the administrator of the program.
 
The ILAG Pastoral Team welcomes curriculum suggestions from U.S. partners who would like to visit and offer a class at Milagro. One visitor offered a 10-day course in sewing. Another offered an extensive course in finances. Visiting delegations have offered short 2-hour demonstrations on baking techniques. 
 
Today we share an update from Claudia, the teacher at Milagro.
 
My participation in this project began on May 2, 2017 with the main objective of preparing girls and young ladies from the rural communities who are members of the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala. The preparation will teach them to be self-sufficient and to break with the stereotype of marriage at a young age that exists in the rural areas of our country.
 
The principal idea is to teach the young ladies that they are capable of surviving by themselves and not to see themselves as always being dependent economically on a husband. Another goal is to be able to help their families to have a better quality of life.
 
At the Milagro Education Center we give classes in bread-making, pastry-making, crafts that are primarily made from recycled materials (so that they learn to utilize the resources at hand), sewing, nutrition, cooking, and support for their academic studies. In addition to all of this, we have discussions concerning problems that youth might encounter, personal hygiene, and health, etc. 
 
At this time we have four students, the first to participate in the project, and the young ladies have already learned how to use sewing machines, creating clothing and bags of various designs. They have also excelled in creating various types of artisanal breads and pastries, as well as crafts for use in the home.
 
Due to the advances seen in the students and the need that exists in our communities of preparing more young ladies, a new phase has begun. On September 25, 2017, construction of a bigger building was begun, one which will permit us to expand this project by training more members of our Church. 
 
On October 19th a service of blessing was held, with a beautiful service led by our pastor, the Rev. Karen Castillo. By October 23rd, the builders had progressed a great deal, already having raised the walls of the building.
 
Day by day, this dream is becoming a reality.
 
Claudia Velazquez Milla, Teacher
Milagro Education Center
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