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...
Apr 8, 2016

A Successful End to Honey Harvest Season

Aj Tikonel Kab Beekeepers
Aj Tikonel Kab Beekeepers

Our beekeeping project has seen a successful few months! Since the beginning of the dry season in November, our Aj Tikonel Kab beekeepers have been able to harvest multiple rounds of honey. The harvest is finishing up this month just as the rainy season approaches, and their honey can be found all around town and around the lake!

This year also marks the end of formal training for our Aj Tikonel Kab beekeepers, as they transition to an autonomous group. They have completed the entire training cycle, and from this point forward Pueblo a Pueblo will provide only supplemental support. Project Manager Ana Cabrera explained that the next step for Pueblo a Pueblo’s relationship with Aj Tikonel Kab is “determining what support they need and how we can best provide the support they need to become independent and thrive.”

Our partnership with the women beekeepers at La Cooperativa Crédito Esquipulas in Huehuetenango has also been progressing well.  The women are acquiring more and more beekeeping skills. So far they have completed four practical trainings, with the most recent training in January. This training session reviewed the lessons the women learned in the fall.  We helped them check on the health of the hives to evaluate what they had been doing well and what could be improved. Additionally, they learned how to prepare for different weather conditions and laid the groundwork for their first harvest. The next session in two weeks will cover all the necessary skills for harvesting and processing the honey for sale.

Ana reports that the women are “more confident in their work with the bees and their hives. They are excited about getting their first harvest at the end of April!”

An Aj Tikonel Kab beekeeper opens up the hives
An Aj Tikonel Kab beekeeper opens up the hives
Beekeepers in Huehuetenango
Beekeepers in Huehuetenango
Apr 6, 2016

A Story of Resiliency

Students receiving their new athletic shoes!
Students receiving their new athletic shoes!

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time for our Primary Education Scholarships project. As our sponsored students began classes in January, we hosted the first event of the year: handing out school supplies. Students and their families from our different partner communities flooded the Pueblo a Pueblo office over the course of the week, bringing their smiling faces and excitement for the year ahead.

Students from kindergarten to high school received backpacks filled to the brim with all the school supplies they will need for the school year. The backpacks make a huge difference for families struggling to afford basic supplies for their children’s education -- serving as a push for students to stay in school.

Now that the school year is underway, we recently held another exciting event giving students new sneakers to be used in their physical education class. Something as basic as a pair of shoes is often out of reach for many students, as Project Manager Johanny Quieju describes:

"Athletic supplies are a necessity that the parents are unable to buy, but that Pueblo a Pueblo can cover.  Many students have so little income that they are unable to purchase adequate shoes, and sneakers are critical for physical education classes, which complement students’ general education."

One of our sponsored students almost did not come back to school this year.  Ashly, a 6-year-old student from Panabaj, was devastated after her father died unexpectedly in December. Her father used to carry her on his shoulders on the walk to school every day -- and she did not want to do the walk without him. After the tragedy, Ashly’s mother told us that she was not going to enroll her daughter in the school anymore; doing so had become too difficult, both financially and emotionally.

After speaking with Ashly’s family, we encouraged them to continue sending her to school and to keep her in Pueblo a Pueblo’s sponsorship program so that Ashly could be successful and continue her education. Thankfully, Ashley is back in school, and she is very happy.  She recently received brand new athletic shoes along with her peers!

Before and after!
Before and after!
All the shoes lined up and ready to be handed out
All the shoes lined up and ready to be handed out
Ashly at the beginning of the school year
Ashly at the beginning of the school year
Apr 5, 2016

Starting Off Strong

Project Coordinator, Lidia, at La Cumbre School
Project Coordinator, Lidia, at La Cumbre School

Since the new school year began in January, our Pathways to Literacy project has been quite busy!

Project staff and teachers at our partner schools began the year by updating the cataloging of books and evaluating the reading levels of students. Assessing students’ reading skills is a very important first step before beginning the year’s literacy activities. Many students are below grade level, and to help them advance, we need to understand where they are struggling. Pathways to Literacy Project Manager, Lidia Quieju, found many students have very low literacy levels -- “many have trouble identifying the letters of the alphabet.”  She explained that one way to improve their reading levels is “to find strategies to encourage the habit of reading.”

After evaluating student reading levels, literacy activities began at the beginning of March. So far, students have learned about the alphabet and have reinforced their lessons with fun and creative activities. For example, first graders learned by putting their names in alphabetical order while second and third graders played “alphabet soup” and found the names of characters from their story of the week.

The school libraries have also been busy lending out books to students; since the school year began, students have already checked out more than 265 books! Lidia told us she has seen big improvements in the school libraries this year, adding that this year, the students are “giving much more importance to borrowing books from the library.”

Lidia has also seen a lot more parent involvement in literacy efforts overall, with many parents coming to the school to read books with their children. In April, staff will be focusing their efforts on including more parents in literacy activities alongside children and teachers.

In addition to literacy classes, lending books, and parent involvement, the libraries have also held activities during recess time, including storytime, art, and literacy games. Now, the schools are busy preparing for World Book Day on April 23rd with the help of their community support groups. Students will be celebrating with various literacy and book related activities. This is sure to be an exciting event!

Students at La Cumbre Library
Students at La Cumbre Library
Chacaya students creating art inspired by books!
Chacaya students creating art inspired by books!
Students participate in an activity with Lidia
Students participate in an activity with Lidia
Students learning the alphabet
Students learning the alphabet
 

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