May 2021 Update
The Brookline-Quezalguaque Sister City project has provided support for Los Pipitos educational center in Quezalguaque since 2010. Los Pipitos Quezalguaque is part of the National Pipitos organization whose mission is to promote the human rights of people with disabilities.
Pipitos Quezalguaque was established in 2006 using land donated by the Mayor Don Bruno Montoya. The Pipitos center building was built by Ayuda en Accion, a Spanish NGO. In 2010, Maxine Shaw, a BQSCP board member, liaised with a foundation in California called Sueños that had a profound interest in children with disabilities. Sueños donated $17,795 to the Sister City to be used for Los Pipitos . These funds were used for purchasing a significant amount of furniture for the center as well as didactic material, paint, and other supplies. Furniture and materials were also purchased for a smaller Pipitos site in Cristo Rey. Los Pipitos is largely operated by parent volunteers, with some professional assistance weekly from professionals who come from nearby Leon.
There are currently 28 students attending classes at Los Pipitos. Classes are held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays. The group is split in half. Fourteen come one week and the other 14 the following week. There are 18 boys and 10 girls. The youngest children are 2, 4, and 6. The oldest are young adults. Their disabilities vary including down’s syndrome, intellectual disabilities, 2 children are blind, 1 child has autism. Some attend the public school as well but come to Pipitos for speech therapy. Others exclusively attend Pipitos.
Los Pipitos Quezalguaque receives no financial support from the Mayor’s office in Quezalguaque or the Ministry of Education. Occasionally they get material support from the National Pipitos Organization (e.g., masks, disinfectant, etc.) and the national office also does extensive training. The Mayor’s office in Quezalguaque occasionally loans the municipality’s van to Pipitos to take the students to sport events. The parents of the Pipitos students sell soup on Sundays to raise money to cover some of the Center’s expenses.
At present SC sends $100 US dollars for Pipitos to the Alcaldia twice a year in January and in July to help with electricity and gas bills. In April 2021, the BQSCP board voted to purchase a refrigerator for the Pipitos center and to increase the biannual funding from $100 to $200.
Carmen Narvaez, President
of Los Pipitos Quezalguaque and the mother of a Pipitos expressed her feeling about Los Pipitos ” Los Pipitos Quezalguaque es muy importante para
nuestras familias porque nuestro centro es donde llegan los niños y
los jóvenes con discapacidad porque las escuelas solamente reciben a
los niños con discapacidad leve. Todos los niños
merecen tener oportunidades educativas, sociales y apoyo en general!“
English translation: “Los Pipitos in Quezalguaque Pipitos is very
important for our families because our center is where children and young
people with disabilities come because the schools only receive children
with very mild disabilities. All children deserve educational
and social opportunities and overall support!”