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...
Jan 29, 2016

Building Personal Responsibility

Mr.Castro at Totolya School
Mr.Castro at Totolya School

One thing we always strive for in our projects at Pueblo a Pueblo is autonomous, sustainable, community-driven success. As we wrapped up the 2015 school year, we checked in with some of the students and teachers at our partner schools to see how the WASH in Schools Project has been progressing. We’re happy to see them taking charge of the project and spreading their new knowledge!

When we spoke to Ruben Castro, a preschool teacher at the Totolya School, he told us he has seen changes in himself, his students, and his community. After participating in trainings and workshops about the importance of WASH, he told us that his outlook has changed. He now feels more personal responsibility for caring for his school and community:

“I have been a part of the process, and I look out for the kids. [...] Now it is my responsibility to be vigilant. [...] I have found a new interest in personal hygiene and for keeping spaces clean. [...] Now I can say that a WASH representative doesn’t necessarily have to come. It’s enough that I am here to instill values about hygiene in the kids. I will be calling their attention when they don’t keep a space clean.”

Mr. Castro has taken charge of making sure the lessons imparted at the Totolya School about WASH are carried out. He hopes that his students will keep practicing good hygiene habits, and tells us he has already seen positive results! Many times, he has seen students encouraging WASH habits with their peers and their family members:

“I’ve observed that my own students are calling each other’s attention about picking up trash, and the importance of using soap. And they don’t just practice those habits at school--but also in their homes. I have a few nieces in our school, and my sisters tell me that the girls always ask for soap to wash their hands. They take care of themselves, they brush their hair, they brush their teeth--and those changes are really significant.”

After speaking to Mr. Castro, we made our way to the Nueva Vida School, where we installed WASH facilities and began trainings just this past summer. Loida, a 5th-grader at Nueva Vida, told us the lessons she has learned have already made a big difference in her life.

I am healthier now because I practice good hygiene in school and at home. [...] Now I brush my teeth and wash my hands with soap because at school there is soap. Now I use toilet paper since we have rolls of toilet paper at school.”

Loida told us she has already seen a difference in her own life, and thinks it is important to share her new knowledge with her classmates and encourage them to keep practicing good hygiene and sanitation:

“We have to teach others to be hygienic too because they can also get sick from bacteria. [...] What they have taught me, I have taught to others. And because of that I am proud of myself, because I am helping my classmates and showing them the right way to wash their hands.”

In addition to encouraging her peers, Loida has also brought the lessons she has learned home with her:

“I also talked to my parents a little bit about hygiene because they have to be hygienic too, and practice good hygiene at home. [...] I have seen changes with my family members: my aunts, my uncles, my siblings. They have practiced good hygiene because I told them they could get sick, and that’s why they should always wash our food. Now they are healthier because [...] I always tell them about hygiene and help them in all that I can.

We are excited by the success stories of Mr. Castro and Loida--and look forward to more WASH successes in 2016!

Loida on the road to Nueva Vida School
Loida on the road to Nueva Vida School
Nueva Vida kids raise awareness in the community
Nueva Vida kids raise awareness in the community
Nueva Vida teachers learn about WASH
Nueva Vida teachers learn about WASH
Jan 29, 2016

Old Year, New Year

Sponsored mothers in the 6-legged race!
Sponsored mothers in the 6-legged race!

The end of the year was an exciting time for the Maternal Child Health Program! To celebrate a successful 2015, project staff hosted two year-end retreats: one for sponsored mothers and their children, and one for our Family Planning Champions. Maternal Child Health Program Manager, Vilma Mendoza, told us the retreats are her favorite events, since they bring together all the groups of women that do not normally get to interact during the year.

During the first retreat, sponsored mothers and their children enjoyed a fun-filled morning. The women participated in a relay with balloon games, a sack race, blind baby food taste-testing, and a three-legged race. Afterwards, they shared what they had learned over the year and ate a delicious meal, and the children received small holiday gifts. Vilma told us, “The women were very happy, and with smiles from ear to ear!”

The Family Planning Champions retreat was a quieter, but equally joyous event. Our ten 2015 champions wrapped up a successful year, sharing the most important things they had learned and sharing with the group how participating in the project has impacted their lives.

Now, project staff are excited to begin a new year! So far this year, sponsored mothers have participated in two workshops, and will participate in many more this year. The themes they learn about range from hygiene and sanitation, to proper spacing of births and reproductive anatomy, to managing family finances.

The new year also means new women participating in the projects, since seven sponsored mothers will graduate and our 2015 campeonas will move on. To select new sponsored mothers,  project staff visit pregnant mothers in surrounding communities to share about the program’s benefits. Then they conduct interviews with interested mothers to decide, giving priority to first time mothers or those with risky pregnancies. For the Family Planning Champions, project staff look first to sponsored mothers in the final stage of the program, and also ask former campeonas to refer interested women they know.

We are excited to welcome more women to our Maternal Child Health Program this year! Judging by the success of 2015, there are a lot of good things to look forward to.

Blind taste test!
Blind taste test!
Mothers resting at the retreat
Mothers resting at the retreat
Antonia, a 2015 campeona, discusses her experience
Antonia, a 2015 campeona, discusses her experience
Jan 7, 2016

Taking Books Beyond the Page

Students compete in the rock band contest!
Students compete in the rock band contest!

October marked the end of the school year here in Guatemala—but that doesn’t mean the learning stopped! To keep students engaged and learning during the break, our Pathways to Literacy Project hosted a two week long literacy camp during the month of November.

Students and families were very excited about the camp; within 5 minutes, 25 students had signed up! After registration ended, there were 43 students ranging from ages 6-12 that chose to participate. The camp lasted for two weeks, consisting of a two hour morning session for the younger age group, and a two hour afternoon session for the older students.

Each day of camp, the students read a new book as a group and then did creative activities inspired by what they had read. For example, one day the students read a book about sounds, and took this theme further by creating musical instruments out of craft materials and hosting a rock band competition. The aim of each day’s activities was to show students that reading isn’t just associated with school, but that books can travel off the page and be fun sources of inspiration.

Beyond reinforcing literacy skills, the camp also provided a safe and stimulating environment for many students who would otherwise have had to work or do chores at home. Students instead got a fun break, while also keeping up the habit of reading to transition more smoothly into the new school year.

Pathways to Literacy Project Manager, Lidia, discussed the importance of the literacy camps:

"My favorite activities took place on the fourth day of camp, when the kids made puppets out of socks after reading a book called Títeres (puppets) by Marilyn Price, and then divided up into small groups to present their own puppet shows.

This activity demonstrated what I think is the most important aspect of the literacy camp; that is, kids reading and then using their imagination to expand upon what they learned and create their own crafts out of common objects. Once they've started doing that at the camp they can repeat it at home, and they can keep expanding their imagination through reading.”

School librarian, Julio, reads to the children
School librarian, Julio, reads to the children
Students eating their nutritious snacks!
Students eating their nutritious snacks!
Showing off his handmade instrument
Showing off his handmade instrument
Having fun exploring sounds and music
Having fun exploring sounds and music

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