While International Samaritan provides many resources to allow children to attend school, it’s important to also recognize the important leadership role our school leaders and teachers play in fostering the children’s success.
One such teacher is 36-year-old Mauricio Wilfredo Herrera Grijalva, a music teacher, who uses music to teach patterns, language, and a love of learning. He started three years ago as a volunteer at the Francisco Coll School before he was hired as a music teacher, but Herrera still helps the school in every way he can. From cooking in the kitchen, to tutoring after school, to starting a student music club, Herrera truly goes beyond just teaching music.
Herrera’s dedication to the students and to the Francisco Coll School comes from experiences in his own life. He himelf grew up in poverty in a slum area of Guatemala City. At first, there was no electricity, water or other services, but gradually his parents and sisters fought to obtain them and he inherited their fighting spirit. At age 19, he bought his first guitar, and a few years later, he had obtained degrees in both music and teaching.
He says he teaches music because it is his passion and because, “music is a means by which to awaken interest and opportunities for underprivileged children to enjoy life more, and is an opportunity for them to access the artistic legacy that humanity provides.”
Herrera enjoys teaching at the Coll School because he relates so well to the poverty the children are growing up in, and he hopes that his success will inspire his students to have hope for their own future, maybe even through music. He also sees his teaching as having a purpose beyond reaching his individual students. “I love my country, and I want to give a lot, and being a teacher is my small contribution to the development of Guatemala.”