Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Our mission is to improving the health, education and food security of families in Indigenous and rural communities in Latin America. We seek to strengthen vulnerable families by serving women and children, with an emphasis on Indigenous peoples in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala and other rural, coffee-growing communities in Latin America through integrated, school-based health & education programs. Pueblo a Pueblo was founded on the belief that meaningful and sustainable change requires the commitment and active involvement of the individual, community or organization that will benefit from that change. Pueblo a Pueblo strives to deepen values such as personal responsibility, se...
Nov 4, 2014

Breaking the Silence on Reproductive Health

Students attend one of the sessions at Chukmuk
Students attend one of the sessions at Chukmuk

Pueblo a Pueblo’s Maternal Child Health program launched the Family Planning Champions project last year to help break the silence surrounding sexuality and reproductive health among rural women in Guatemala. But what began as informal one-on-one conversations between our trained community educators and their neighbors has now grown into widespread community discussions held in public and private institutions.

Over the past few months, our Champions have begun to collaborate with new partners to provide more local opportunities for women to learn about key topics in women’s health. Their first outreach events were held in collaboration with the coordinator of the Municipal Office for Women. Twenty-four women of all ages from Santiago Atitlan attended the trainings, which focused on reproductive health, family planning techniques and how to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Later in the month, Champions also led two workshops for the employees of the Rxiin Tnament health clinic on similar topics.

The most exciting opportunity for our Champions, however, was to provide sexual and reproductive health classes to adolescents in Chukmuk’s high school. In September three Champions led sessions for boys and girls across three grade levels, all aged 13 through 17 years old. They spoke about the physiology and anatomy of male and female reproductive systems, sexually transmitted diseases, and what steps to take to prevent health risks like cervical cancer.

Discussions like these are both unprecedented and of critical importance. In Guatemala, particularly in rural areas, topics related to sexual health are often avoided, and there is no nationwide curriculum to discuss health or sexual education within schools. As a result, the country has the one of the lowest rates of contraceptive usage and one of the highest fertility rates in Latin America.

Here at Pueblo a Pueblo, we are excited to expand our Family Planning Champions project and to use every outreach event as an opportunity to break the local silence on reproductive health issues.

Champions relaxing after a training
Champions relaxing after a training
Oct 31, 2014

Now Serving Breakfast!

A student in Tzanchaj II enjoying her breakfast
A student in Tzanchaj II enjoying her breakfast

If you’re a typical student in the highlands of Guatemala, it’s normal to walk to school hungry in the mornings. Given what most parents make as day laborers on coffee farms, the money for three full meals a day just isn’t there. For this reason, Pueblo a Pueblo’s School Nutrition project shifted this year to serve breakfast instead of lunch at three out of the five schools where we provide school meals; meaning that over 800 students will get breakfast every day they are in school.

The impact has been immediate. Students are happier and teachers have noticed an improvement in student concentration and attendance!

Our breakfast program follows the same format as the school lunch program and in addition to the basic ingredients purchased through your donations, organic school gardens provide supplementary fruits and vegetables that are incorporated into the meals.

The schools contribute their share by providing firewood for the stoves as well as the kitchenware needed to prepare the large quantities of food. When possible, the school provides a modest wage for a cook. Otherwise the school collaborates with local mothers who volunteer to prepare the meals as early as 5am to make sure breakfast is ready by 10am. Their dedication is impressive!

We look forward to serving breakfast in all five schools that we work with in 2015. We also plan to provide more hands-on training for school cooks and to improve the nutritional content of school meals. Stay tuned for more updates as events unfold!

A mother at Tanchaj II takes a break after cooking
A mother at Tanchaj II takes a break after cooking
Students work up an appetite in the garden
Students work up an appetite in the garden
Sep 30, 2014

A Reason to Celebrate

Our executive director speaks at the inauguration
Our executive director speaks at the inauguration

When exploring different internship opportunities in Latin America, I stumbled upon Pueblo a Pueblo and their Pathways to Literacy project.  Knowing how one book or one class can forever change your perspective and life, I was curious to see the project in action.

During my first week in Santiago, I went to Chacaya and visited the elementary school where children swarmed the newly-constructed library during their recess time. Some of the students were playing board games; others completing puzzles, and more perused the shelves full of books. Later in the afternoon, students would read one-on-one with Pueblo a Pueblo’s staff members.

It quickly became obvious that the library was not only a place for books, but a general community space that fostered learning in every capacity.  With students buzzing in and out, the amount of excitement and curiosity in the library was palpable.

While this may not sound revolutionary for someone living in the United States, the libraries in Chacaya and ChukMuk bring a new sense of hope to a wider community. According to a recent UNESCO study, Guatemala has the second-lowest reading achievement levels for all third-graders across the 17 Latin American countries. Here around Lake Atitlan, the need is even greater as 50 percent of Santiago’s indigenous children never finish their primary education. 

However, with the construction of these new libraries and Pueblo a Pueblo’s ongoing teacher trainings and continuous support, change is slowly happening and that is something worth celebrating!

(Below are photos from the recent inauguration of the Chacaya school library as well as International Literacy Day, which Pueblo a Pueblo celebrated by training teachers on how to use educational games to improve student performance in math and literacy.)

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