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Manchester High School for Girls

The Gift of Music for Guatemalan Orphans

In 2019, Sixth Former, Hannah, spent three weeks of her summer holiday working in an orphanage in Guatemala and this summer, the Guatemalan authorities have given her special dispensation to return there, so she can once again teach music and English to the children.

The idea first came about after she watched a YouTube video in which ‘Van Life’ visited an orphanage in the country.  At the time she was just 14 years of age but was so moved by the scenes she saw, that she immediately began to contact orphanages across Guatemala to ask if she could volunteer her time to teach music.

Within a couple of months, she found herself living with a local family in the small city of Antigua and teaching music and English to children in the Amor de Patricia orphanage alongside her friend, Isabel.

Hannah said, “It was such a brilliant experience.  I managed to raise £4,000 before I left for Guatemala and used it to buy instruments for the children so that I could teach them once I arrived.” 

The lessons were a great success and Hannah was planning a return trip in August 2020 but, like many things last year, Covid meant she was unable to return.  However, desperate to keep connecting with the children, Hannah began to teach them English via Zoom and has now been doing weekly sessions for the last year and a half with children between the ages of 6 and 13. 

She said, “I feel it is so important that these children learn English.  They do not have many advantages, but, by learning another language, I hope they will have greater opportunities in the future.”

Hannah is determined to ensure that her legacy continues and is in the process of setting up a club at Manchester High School for Girls where Modern Foreign Language students will continue to teach English to the orphanage for years to come.  She said “If Covid has taught us anything, it is that technology makes the world more accessible, and I want to utilise that to ensure we share our knowledge with children who may not otherwise have access to it.”

The 16-year-old has been planning to return to Central America to visit the children this month, so she can continue to share the gift of music.