Rosendo, a young boy at NPH Guatemala opens his first “business” preparing for future

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“Disability itself is not a disease, it is a condition that can be unnoticed. If we remove all barriers, then we can all be part of the inclusion, if we give ourselves the opportunity,” says Jennifer Melendez, Special Education Coordinator.

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8 Jun 2022

All children who come to our home Casa San Andrés have their individual story to tell. They come from difficult backgrounds with social instabilities, abuse and neglect of their universal child rights in their lives before NPH. Within our population we have children and young people with physical, auditory and visual disabilities as well as children with attention deficits such as dyscalculia (learning disability in math), dyslalia (difficulties in talking), dyslexia (reading disorder) and/or dysgraphia (trouble with writing) among other deficits. Therefore, our Special Education program at NPH Guatemala is very important to satisfy and to cover each one of these individual needs that our boys, girls and adolescents present and to improve their working abilities and inclusion in everyday life situations.

Rosendo* is one of these kids – he presents a mild intellectual disability and attention deficit due to a hyperactivity disorder. He was born on December 2nd in 2004 and has 3 sisters, Maria*, Candy* and Evelyn* who present intellectual disabilities too. The mother passed away and the sick father could not take care of the children, so Rosendo and his sisters joined the NPH family on October 16th in 2015.

After attending primary school and receiving four years of language therapy, Rosendo moved on to secondary school in 2021. Now he has 17 years and will graduate from high school this year. When he reaches majority age, he may return to his father. Therefore, NPH Guatemala supports Rosendo in his idea to start up a food business in the future. In the past three years he attended occupational therapies with Jennifer: “With occupational therapies, we offer a sets of activities and procedures for children and adolescents with different types of disorders.”

Since then, Rosendo gained experience and confidence in using fake money and tokens to improve his calculating abilities. He created a snack menu list he is interested in learning the food preparation process. His dream is to open his own food business in the future. At NPH Guatemala, he started selling ice cream and later advanced with the popular “tostadas”, toasted tortilla with different toppings and other snacks during 2020. “He needed advises to use an appropriate voice level, follow sales guidelines and become more confident when he goes to sell his products,” quotes Jennifer. Unfortunately, during the pandemic he had to stop these activities due to the bio-security protocol at NPH. But during the occupational therapies he attends once a week, a short term plan was developed, focusing on improving his social skills, a business development plan and a personal growth plan, taking into account all the necessary aspects for Rosendo to prepare his project idea of a food stand, visualizing the resources, time, advantages and disadvantages. He achieved a set of individual goals:

  1. Learned all the necessary steps to start his own business.
  2. Improved money management and confidence with the use of money.
  3. Developed vocational skills so that he can work alone.

“Rosendo is a kind and creative boy. When something interests him, he gives his best effort, he is very dedicated and he likes to do a good job. On the other side, he doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence and sometimes has a hard time when he’s working on his own business plan. He wants to do everything in a short time and has very high expectations, but forgets that everything evolves in a process, then he needs some incentives and motivation to keep on going in small steps,” tells Jennifer Melendez.

He is very interested in learning more about the use of money, how to generate profit and save incomes to be more independent in his life and thus be able to support his family in the future. Today, Rosendo improved a lot in his confidence and ability to sell to clients. In the first week of June, he went to supermarkets buying with real money the ingredients he needed to prepare “tamalitos”, small tamale made of cornstarch from tender white corn.

The next morning, he prepared tamalitos with chipilín and tamalitos with black beans and sold them for 2 quetzals (USD 0.25) each during the afternoon here at NPH. This was his first selling of his products during the trail period inside Casa San Andrés in June and he sold 96 tamalitos in just two days. Out of the 100 quetzals’ inversion (USD 13) he made a profit of 92 quetzals (USD 12)!

“I am very happy with that I could sell all tamalitos I prepared for NPH staff. With the money earned I will buy new ingredients to continue my food stand,” tells Rosendo proudly. His goal is to create a profitable business in form of a food stand with different products every week during July and August, which allows Rosendo to acquire more practice and more savings. After graduating from high school, he will be able to choose his professional career or continue with a technical program outside NPH to increase his skill set.

NPH Guatemala is committed to the promotion and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through our Protection programs, we support our youth with SDG #4 Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, SDG #10 Reduce inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries and SDG #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

*Child names changed for privacy purposes