Poverty in Guatemala disproportionately affects the country’s indigenous Mayas. They make up half of the population but account for less than a quarter of the total income and consumption. A typical Maya laborer earns less than $6 a day. Poverty rates in rural Guatemala exceed 70%.
People for Guatemala, Inc., together with our in-country partner, Hombres y Mujeres en Accion, have worked in San Martin, Jilotepeque, since 2009, home to over 100,000 people, mostly of Maya decent. We focus on improving health and education. People with low resources living in extreme poverty lack even the basic necessities. Through our efforts, families are benefiting from the installation of water delivery systems, school upgrades, sanitation improvements, vented Chapina stoves, classroom support and access to quality medical care. Our professional medical, dental, and psychology teams treat upwards of 800 patients each month at our medical facility located in Santo Domingo, a rural indigenous village. In July, 2018, we opened a satellite health and dental clinic in El Sapito serving 6 rural communities.
Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy and lowest school enrollment rates in Latin America due, in part, to the lack of resources. Families barely survive earning only about $6 a day if they can find work. We believe education is the only way to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Therefore, we provide scholarships for middle school, high school and college students.
In early 2018, we opened a new learning center next to our health clinic. Classes include technology, English, sewing, baking, cooking, plus business classes, health and hygiene classes, and early childhood development classes for young mothers.
Using the “teach a man to fish” concept, we invest our efforts in people first. We teach them how to develop, implement, and monitor their own projects. Each project comes from the villagers themselves based on their expressed needs and priorities. To assure ownership, a small financial contribution is required, as well as a commitment from them to provide labor to complete each project. This fosters pride and assures sustainability.
Our Vision – One day all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education, all families will be healthy, and all communities will thrive in rural Guatemala.
Integrity – Conduct business in a transparent, honest, and ethical manner to be good steward of all financial resources
Understanding – Know and respect cultural differences
Excellence – Deliver high quality health care for all patients
Empowerment – Encourage each student to strive for the best possible outcome
Community – Work with individuals, families, and entire communities to improve their health, education, and overall well being.