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Future thinking school and orphanage for the children of Guatemala.

The Place of Dreams is an initiative that has redesigned the traditional components of a school and orphanage for children. It is a truly unique project that seeks to nurture a child’s passions and educational needs to create well-rounded and happy individuals. There are four key phases in the development of this project, with the completion of each phase fulfilling another piece of our overall vision. Our hope is to create an environment whereby children are offered access to education in the traditional sense, recreational pathways to foster new interests and real-life skills, a warm place to call home, and the opportunity for young adults or families from the United States to stay and perform voluntary work in a safe and rewarding environment.

Our goal is to have four fulltime staff to manage both the Orphanage and School; Director of Operations, Director of Education, a social worker, and a nurse. It is our hope that the remaining workers will be available on a voluntary basis.

The concept for the Place of Dreams and School of Dreams is best understood by breaking down the four phases of implementation.

Phase 1

The School of Dreams Recreation Programme
Opening early summer 2012

Incorporated into the overall project as an “after-school programme”, the purpose of this component is two-fold; to nurture real-life skills that can be used in various industries, and to foster passions and hobbies in the local children. Stimulating a child’s interests by providing them with access to a variety of resources, from cooking and music, to sport and the arts, allows them to develop and grow as individuals. Vocational studies complements the ‘textbook learning’ in the classroom, providing the child with academic and practical skills for the future.

An exciting point of differentiation is our unique network of celebrity contacts who have already expressed interest in their involvement with this project. This provides not only an unrivalled opportunity for young children to learn skills from the very best in that industry, but it can also be a strong component of our public relations strategy which will be of significant benefit to you as a sponsor. Utilizing our celebrity contacts will ensure media coverage of the project, providing an ideal opportunity for a sponsor’s association to be publicized too. It is an exciting prospect to consider; being able to give a young girl from a local village that dreams of being in fashion, the opportunity to meet and be tutored by American designer Nicole Miller. This unique component of The Place of Dreams is not only beneficial to the children involved, but also for the sponsors associated with the project.

To enable those children in poverty to have access to this programme, scholarships will be provided to ensure equality. Children from privileged families will pay to attend, with a fee structure yet to be determined. This situation not only provides children of all backgrounds the opportunity to have access to our resources, it also allows children from different socio-economic backgrounds to come together. The hope is that The Place of Dreams will be a safe and open environment where there are no lines of social division.

Furthermore, we hope to incorporate a programme for U.S. High School and College students to live and voluntarily work in the orphanage and school during their semester holidays.

Phase 2

The Orphanage
Opening autumn 2012

Phase Two is the opening of the orphanage. While we have capacity for 80 children, we hope to keep the number at half of this in our first five years to ensure that the ratio between children and adults remains low. This will provide a more personal, easily managed environment for the children.

Phase 3

The School of Dreams
Opening autumn 2012

Imperative to the growth and success of any young child is their education. The poor literacy rates in Guatemala as a direct result of the poverty are alarming, which is why the school component of this project is so important. A full school curriculum will be on offer to the children of the orphanage to provide them with every opportunity for success in the future, with four classes operating with twenty children in each.

Phase 4

Philanthropic Tourism
Opening autumn 2012

“Eco-tourism” is a term we are all familiar with. In recent years there has been a dramatic shift in society’s awareness of conserving our environment, hence the development of a subset of the industry that uses sustainable practices to promote this cause. It is our hope that The Place of Dreams will be a place for ‘Philanthropic Tourism’ to thrive.

We hope to the first to coin this term and really sell it as a rewarding way to give back while on holiday. Guatemala is a country of incredible beauty, and whose visitors are drawn to its natural surroundings. In establishing a strong, credible and respected brand in The Place of Dreams, it is hoped that we can attract families to the orphanage who, for just three hours a day, engage with the children at the orphanage in recreational activities. The children will benefit from the interaction with different people from varied backgrounds, and the families will be exposed to local children and have the opportunity to be involved in a worthy cause while on their holiday. Establishing a strong brand through press, celebrity association and an effective website will be important in marketing this as a worthwhile cause while on holiday. The holiday-makers will be able to enjoy the attractions of Guatemala, while engaging with locals and giving back to the community.

A section of the existing building has been earmarked for hotel rooms to accommodate this final component. It will provide a comfortable, convenient place for guests to stay and will make the idea of engaging with the children more attractive because of the close proximity to the orphanage. The rooms will be decorated with arts and crafts made by the children during recreational activities, and will be available to purchase to ensure that all money goes back to the children.
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