AGDI began its work 35 years ago in the neighborhood “El Milagro” (The Miracle), which is one of the most densly populated neighborhoods of Guatemala. Our principal objective was the community’s health. A clinic opened in 1969, with a volunteer doctor for two hours for two days per week. In 1994, it became a small hospital assisting more than 20,000 patients per year.
Our second great challange was tap water. During 35 years 30,000 people did not have this vital liquid, this caused major health problems for the community; no authority, local or central government listened to us. On the contrary, the leaders were life threatened, some went to exile, and two fellow mates offered their lives, since it was a time of much political violence in Guatemala.
The fight was not over; we looked for help through international solidarity and we were able to make friends in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands who financed the great project: WATER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF “EL MILAGRO.” Today, 6,800 houses are connected to water service.
The third step was education; in 2003 in one of our partner’s home we began our education effort with 25 children of different ages, they were our first students, some of them 9, 10 and 12 had never been to school. For the second year, our school population had considerably grown, from 25 children that had began this process we were more than 85. Now we had a serious problem, we had children who were eager for learning, but we did not have teachers or facilities to assist the students. It was a blessing to meet Doctor THEO BLOEM, who took the project with great enthusiasm and established the foundation in Holland “FLOR AYUDA” (Flower Help); this was how we found the much needed financial support. The first school was built and opened to the public in 2006.
In 2010, Mr. Gerard Van Herel and his wife Josee Van Herel travelled all the way from Holland to open the doors of the new school, “INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO” (The Technological School), where high school with emphasis in trades such as: Automobile Mechanics, International Cuisine, computer operator, repair, and programming. This school offers young people the opportunity to study a technical career that will allow them to find a job.
The Association’s education project is based on three pillars:
The school is named after Holland’s Medical Doctor THEODORUS JOHANNES JOSEFUS MARIA BLOEM, or as he is known Theo Bloem, who promoted the supporting foundation of Holland.