The founders of Resplandece – Josue Porta and Marcela Olivet – have been involved in humanitarian assistance in the years leading up to the creation of the organization. Josue has worked over a decade in foreign assistance for Guatemala, mission teams, translation and interpreting as well as hosting several initiatives to support homeless children living in the streets of Guatemala. Marcela has worked several years in relational support for street children and women stuck in prostitution. Over the years their focus has gradually shifted towards communities living in red zones that do not receive any formal aid or assistance.
Plywood People: What is Resplandece?
Josue Porta and Marcela Olivet: Resplandece is an organization that fights in the quest for solutions for the problems of the poverty circle and its aftermaths, such as lack of education, lack of working opportunities and the lack of homes, not only physical homes but holistic and moral homes that will contribute with their formation and identity with God.
Resplandece seeks to have Community Centers that will bring working opportunities to become self sustainable projects, being able to help the affected areas with education, work, personal formation, health and open doors for all of those who due to social situation had closed doors.
Plywood People: What Problem are you addressing/solving?
Josue and Marcela: Resplandece takes as foundation the tridimensional healing: physical, emotional or of the soul and spiritual to keep human health in a good balance.
a) Malnutrition: bad nutrition is alarming and it is the first step to a limited development and the beginning of a life full of obstacles.
b) Lack of education: provide academic opportunities giving a daily follow up, which can benefit the scholars and at the same time, demand good results in their grades. The scholars can attend the community center before or after their school hours and have a healthy life for a good academic development. The education goes hand by hand with the moral and ethical values of the organization, placing God as the main center of our all.
c) Lack of working opportunities: provide the community with working sources creating micro businesses that will make them responsible and hold them accountable in the line of the business, using this to create self sustainable families and working parents, opening doors that society previously shut due to their social condition or physical appearance.
d) Psychology: with the help of Christian psychologists we want to treat children and youth and members of the community with stories that block their development, using God as our foundation.
e) Health: volunteer doctors that prioritize the right treatments for malnutrition, which is 90% of children with low resources, have.
Plywood People: What inspired you to start?
Josue and Marcela: Resplandece was inspired after recognizing the mission that God has in our lives and after witnessing the way God has molded our hearts. In Guatemala 6 out of 10 people live in poverty, and 4 of every 10 live in extreme poverty. The Indigenous sector is the one mostly affected, being victim of extreme poverty 8 out of 10.
As for malnutrition, Guatemala is number 1 for child malnutrition in all America, and 6th in the world. Unfortunately, 49.3% of the child population in Guatemala has severe malnutrition.
Guatemala is victim of a poverty cycle and its aftermath, amongst them, lack of work, education, violence, delinquency, malnutrition and early deaths. Resplandece feels we are called to change the situation, making our priority health, education and nutrition in the areas in need. God worked on us so we can work on others. Using His Word: “The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you” (Numbers 6.25). Where do we see the face of God? In the people in need, in the happiness, in the solidarity; and the best way to shine God’s face over us, is allowing knowing that God can shine in other people’s faces, having mercy of those in need. Here is where Resplandece came from. Resplandece is Spanish for shine.
Plywood People: What has been the most challenging part of the process for you so far?
Josue and Marcela: Our biggest challenge has been the lack of resources and funds, by themselves, the solutions can’t be immediate and it is worse when we don’t have the funds. Working and academic opportunities demand funds that we can’t fully cover, even having a community center creates issues that we work on and haven’t been able to solve. Human indifference embraces the population in the selfish cycle, which won’t let them open their eyes to reality and allow human beings help their neighbors with opportunities.
Plywood People: Would you share a story of something you have seen as a result of your work?
Josue and Marcela: There are many stores about how a little seed can reap huge harvests in the Guatemalan childhood and youth. The youth that live in the streets need only an opportunity, just as we ask God when we beg for forgiveness. God gives us new opportunities everyday, and in the same way, all the affected community needs just one thing, opportunities. We have accomplished that youth in street situations get involved with our families and this way we can provide them of work and an income. Thanks to this and the warmth of a home, youth have decreased their drug consumption and vice, we have been witnesses that a fundamental part of change is accomplishing harmony and a family environment.
The community center has ignited it all; we have been able to rescue 2 children from terrible situations when it comes to domestic abuse and street situation. Estuardo (7) and Luis (12), no longer live under the beating of a father, they don’t live under the influence of delinquency and violence in the streets. They now live in a home that is offering opportunities, warmth and love. Resplandece Home is now their home, they begin this year their school again and the aftermath of health have been controlled with our care and love.