Jorge Sanum Buch knows both the importance and the value of education – something that gives him much joy (and smiles) when working with kids in Child Aid’s Reading for Life literacy program.
Jorge grew up in the Kaqchikel-speaking village of El Sitio, Guatemala. His childhood was similar to other indigenous Mayan children raised in the campo (countryside). When not in school, Jorge worked to help his family make ends meet, spending afternoons on the milpa (a plot of land where crops such as corn are grown) with his father or in the forest gathering firewood so his mother could cook for the family.
Coming from a family whose daily earnings barely allowed them to survive, Jorge and his parents wanted more for his future and sacrificed much of their means for him to continue his studies. On top of that, because Jorge only spoke Kaqchikel, school was a struggle (as Spanish is the primary language used in Guatemalan schools). These circumstances fueled Jorge’s perseverance to complete high school and earn his diploma in something he loved: education – the first of his family to do so.
Jorge joined Child Aid’s literacy staff in 2011. Not only does he implement our program in rural schools and libraries, he also leads our teacher training initiative for students interested in becoming educators. The trainings offer students the tools and resources to implement literacy programs and reading promotion in their future classrooms. In addition to his own education, Jorge’s success hails from his ability to share the culture and language of the people he works with, helping make our program trainings, resources and materials much more effective and relevant.
When asked if he misses working on the milpa, Jorge smiles and says “no, not at all!” He still likes to help out with his father when possible, but Jorge’s fulfillment stems from his every day job, which not only helps support his family, but also allows him to share his passion for education.