Celebrating Program Anniversaries
We recently celebrated the second anniversary of two of our special programs at NPH Guatemala – the Tienda Sonrisa (“Smile Shop”) and the Family Bakery.
Reported by Thomas Hartig
Communication Officer, NPH Guatemala
July 10, 2017
The Tienda Sonrisa (“Smile Shop”) is a project that provides healthy food to our students during school breaks, and also an opportunity for our youth with disabilities to work and manage a small business on their own. Through this experience, they not only receive the job training and technical skills that will benefit them in the future, but also develop their self-esteem, social skills, productivity and independence.
With the guidance of our teachers and therapists, these students are involved in every step of the process, from product decisions and food preparations to marketing and selling. We sell our products out of the small store in the home. Currently on our menu we offer seasonal fruits, nuts, granola bars and juice, much of which we are able to sell in small portions for less than 20 cents – a price that is affordable for everyone. But we also sell sandwiches, quesadillas, and promote a special offer each day!
The team’s vision for this project was not only to provide and sell products for our students, but to create a learning environment where they can develop their practical abilities through lessons on finance, business management and product preparation. Here are two success stories that speak to how this vision came true:
One 12-year-old girl struggles with learning difficulties, which have significantly affected her behavior and motivation to be in school. Since she began helping in the store, we have seen a significant change in her attitude. She attends school now with more focus and looks forward to her work as manager in the Tienda Sonrisa. You can likely find her with a big smile on her face!
A completely nonverbal boy, 15 years of age, communicates with noises, signs and gestures. With the help of our speech therapist he is able to interact with customers, greeting them and taking their orders! This incredible young boy is now recognized by his hard work in the store.
At the beginning of June, we happily celebrated our second year anniversary of the Tienda Sonrisa, and look forward to many more years to come.
We also recently celebrated the second anniversary of our Family Bakery. This program began with the dream of selling our home’s own products, especially from the bakery, but also crafts, gifts and quality coffee in a little cafeteria.
We named the cafeteria “Family Bakery” because we wanted to create a family atmosphere, where one can spend beautiful moments with his or her loved ones, enjoying a café and a croissant. The idea is to share NPH’s mission, to live our values and principles in all aspects of the family. It is an example of what can be achieved when we apply dedication and passion to our work.
Family Bakery has been growing successfully with the support of visitors, volunteers, employees, our little ones and many other friends who enjoy our products. Today the Family Bakery is a place where you can relax and enjoy spending time with your family and friends. The café is also an ideal spot for meetings and discussions with our business partners who visit NPH.
The success of Family Bakery concluded this year with a check of $3,000 USD that we proudly handed over to Orlando Ramos, NPH Guatemala’s National Director. This shows a great start in how NPH built its very own sustainable, profitable, social business to financially support the NPH programs for our children.
In the Family Bakery’s future, we see a paved road and we hope for all the best to continue with such great success.
Photo above: Enjoying the party at the Family Bakery. Photos below: Children lining up and serving customers at the Smile Shop; the very first customer at the Family Bakery; bakery staff giving the check to National Director, Orlando Ramos.