Founded in February 2007 • Located in El Tejar, Guatemala
165 preschool to middle school youth served annually
The Cedin School - Child Aid's Montessori preschool program that allows students to explore their interests, abilities and aptitudes. In 2001, 46 out of 111 children were underweight when they arrived at the beginning of the school year. At the school, they receive two meals a day and after three months most children are reach a healthy weight. The school also provides education to children, ages 3 to 10. Many parents can not afford to pay for the school so they donate what they have: beans, rice, paper, etc.
A voluntary extra-curricular music program meets at the Cedin School every school day. There are 15 classes during the 5-day school week with two to four offered each day. The music teachers work with 105 preschool students and 55 primary and middle school students. In the classes students are introduced to rhythm, music theory, vocal, instrumental, and dance experiences. LEAF International funds the music teachers' salaries and local instruments made by local artists.
Classes offered in:
- Marimba (I & II), Guatemala’s national instrument
- Keyboard (I & II)
- Recorder (I, II, & III including Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Bass)
- Guitar (I & II)
- Orchestra (playing as a group)
Students also create informal groups and small bands, including a choral group, a marimba band, and a marching band. They perform regularly at village concerts and in regional competitions.
- Child Aid - Child Aid provides scholarships for each student to attend the Cedin School. Child Aid’s mission is to create opportunities for impoverished rural and indigenous Latin Americans through childhood literacy and education programs. For more information, please see their website: http://child-aid.org.
- PEG Partners - PEG Partners (Proyecto par alas Escuelas Guatemaltecas) was founded by peace activist and musician David LaMotte, who is from Black Mountain, NC. The non-profit organization works to improve learning environments in Guatemalan schools. PEG is composed entirely of volunteers, with all donations going 100% to projects in Guatemala. They oversees the music program at the Cedin School and provide local instruments and teaching artists. For more information, please see their website: http://pegpartners.org or http://davidlamotte.com.
The program is also supported by the community: the parents of the students have donated time and materials to build an addition onto the school to create a music classroom.
Sara Morales and Estephany Munoz Ajqui (assistant) are both trained music teachers (a rarity in Guatemalan schools). Estephany, a former CEDIN student, recently graduated from San Carlos University with a degree in music instruction.
LI Guatemala youth open many hearts on journey to LEAF
BLACK MOUNTAIN - When they arrived in the United States in October, leaving their small Guatemalan village for the first time, the musicians with Las Estrellas Musicales de el Tejar wanted to know everything about this country, about our food and our music—and also something very, very basic: our clothes.
Their group was composed of four adults, plus three boys and five girls, ages 11 to 18. They came to this country—specifically for fall LEAF 2012—as part of a music program that started in 2007 as a partnership between the non-profit organization directed by singer-songwriter David LaMotte called PEG Partners, Child Aid and LEAF International.
Shortly after they arrived in Raleigh, they were met by Sarah Hipp, a LEAFer who helped set up the Guatemala program and who also hosted them during the visit. At the airport, they packed the van full, mostly with instruments—mandolins guitars, bongos and congas, recorders and marimbas, the signature instrument of Guatemalan music.
“I’m so glad their first experience of America is LEAF,” he said from the Lakeside stage before they performed traditional songs, as well as a crowd-friendly rendition of “La Bamba.”
As they performed, several people in the audience wept, cheering through tears.
No matter where they were, they were constantly singing and sharing their culture through music.
Meet The Students
Julia Isabel Mayca Avila
She attended CEDIN supported by Child Aid scholarships until tercer basico (8th grade). She has participated extensively in the music program at El Tejar, which inspired her to become a music teacher once she graduates high school. Julia's mom, Magda, sells shaved ice made on a hand-cranked ice shaver during the day, and tamales and atole (a traditional corn drink) at night. Her dad works for Pan Bimbo (the Guatemalan equivalent of Wonder Bread). The scholarships and music program have given Julia a positive direction and the ability to pursue what brings her joy!
Mario Rene Figueroa Niche
At 16 years of age, Mario dreams of being a percussionist in a large orchestra. His father is a farmer, but makes very little money. The family can't afford school so Mario helps his father. Mario's parents don't see the value in obtaining an education.
Sara, Mario's percussion teacher, says he has a natural talent. She invited him to participate in the band even though he is not studying at the school. Gangs are very prominent in El Tejar, but Mario receives a sense of belonging from the music program, something positive.
The band has become Mario's passion.
”The music program makes a profound impact on these children's lives. Coming to school a couple hours a day to play music is what these children look forward too. And parents donated whatever possible to make this happen! Now that is inspiration!”
-Celeste Dunn, LI Ambassador
“The children have really been able to develop pride in themselves, pride in their culture, pride in their community."
-Dr. Jon Van Keppel, Guatemala Country Director for Child Aid
"Marching bands are a culturally significant part of the frequent parades in Guatemala, but poor children rarely get to participate, as their schools can’t afford the instruments or music teachers. LEAF and PEG created a band for poor Maya children in El Tejar.”
“One of the ladies works in the school as the janitor, making less than 100 dollars a month to support her family of four. She is so happy that her children are able to learn music because she is not able to provide much for them.”
-Sarah Hipp, LI Coordinator