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 24, 2015

Organic School Gardens and Nutrition: The Next Chapter

Student in La Cumbre showing off her plant
Student in La Cumbre showing off her plant

With the start of the Guatemalan school year in January came three exciting changes to our Organic School Gardens and Nutrition project.

One of the most exciting changes was the transition of leadership in the organic gardens at the La Cumbre and Chacaya Elementary Schools, as part of the 4th phase of their participation in our project.

In each school, committees composed of local educators, parents, and student representatives are now managing all aspects of the school gardens. Our project technicians are still available to provide assistance when necessary, but the committees are ultimately responsible for maintaining the garden and for ensuring that nutrition education continues for their elementary-aged students.  

We’re extremely proud to see our first project partners begin this new chapter in their organic school gardens and we’re looking forward to seeing how the gardens change and grow under their leadership!

As La Cumbre and Chacaya begin phasing out of the program, Nueva Vida is starting to phase in. Nueva Vida is a very rural community with an elementary school serving 277 students. In December we launched a collaboration with the Nueva Vida Elementary School to implement an organic school garden. With the help of local teachers and parents, we have already cleared the land and built the foundation for the garden. Soon we will start planting and in May, our project technicians will begin teaching students about the fruits, vegetables and herbs that will be growing in their garden.

Last but not least, in our November report, we told you that we were starting to serve breakfast in three of our partner communities. Due to the immediate change we saw in students’ behavior, we decided to implement breakfast, instead of lunch, in all of our partner school and have already seen the positive effect this change has had on students’ attention and participation in morning classes!     

We are very excited about the 2015 school year because we know that the knowledge and experience students gain while working in their organic school gardens and through their nutrition classes will change the common narrative of long-term food insecurity and malnutrition in rural Guatemala. By focusing today on tomorrow’s leaders, we are ensuring a healthier future for indigenous Guatemalan communities.

Teachers from Chacaya having fun in the garden
Teachers from Chacaya having fun in the garden
Students working in the Chacaya garden
Students working in the Chacaya garden
Our garden technician working with students
Our garden technician working with students
Apr 22, 2015

Plenty of Buzz Surrounding the Beekeeping Project

Our beekeepers collecting sweet honey!
Our beekeepers collecting sweet honey!

Though the looming rainy season signifies the end of the honey harvest, there’s still plenty of buzz surrounding the Beekeeping project at Pueblo a Pueblo.

Aj Tikonel Kab’, the local association of beekeepers, produced over 600 pounds of honey since the season started in December. As a comparison, last year’s honey harvest yielded only 250 pounds.

The reasons for this rapid growth are two-fold. First, a new participating group of coffee producers from Totolya added their harvested honey to the total product.  Second, the association members from Pampojila used their income from last year’s harvest to invest in expanding their apiary from ten hives to 25!

The association’s new goal is to produce enough honey to sell year round and it seems attainable as next year will bring even more growth with the introduction of a third group of honey producers from Panimaquip.  

Recently, a group hailing from St. Paul Episcopal Church in Bellingham, Washington visited the project and apiaries. The group, composed of 18 volunteers, was in Santiago Atitlan for a week and provided hands-on support to various projects at Pueblo a Pueblo. One of the most important activities they completed was the construction of ten bee hive boxes for our program participants.

These hive boxes are essential for honey production. Depending on their placement, the boxes can either be used as spaces for bee reproduction, where the brood (bee eggs) are held, or as “honey super boxes”, where they serve as places for bees to store new honey. Either way, these ten new boxes will ensure the beekeepers a head start going into next year’s honey season.

As this year’s harvest winds down, the association will focus on looking for new buyers and expanding their sales market but, above all, they’ll be keeping the bees healthy and maintaining the colonies so they’ll be ready for another productive honey season next year!

New bee hive boxes standing proudly in Panimaquip
New bee hive boxes standing proudly in Panimaquip
Beekeepers working hard to retrieve honey
Beekeepers working hard to retrieve honey
Apr 22, 2015

Providing Support for Students

One of our scholarship students from Chacaya
One of our scholarship students from Chacaya

The school year is underway in Guatemala and students across the country are preparing to take their first exams of the year. While testing may cause anxiety for students and their families, evaluations and grades are important indicators for Pueblo a Pueblo staff to address the needs of scholarship students.

As part of a scholarship, students receive school supplies and gym uniforms in addition to medical care, including dental checkups and medications. Most importantly, we also offer one-on-one, tailored support and mentorship for students.

When students perform poorly on exams, their teachers help us arrange a home visit to meet with the student and his or her family. Through these visits, we can determine the causes behind a student’s poor academic performance and construct a plan with the family on how to get the student back on track.

In a country where more than 50% of indigenous students do not complete their primary education, extra support from a caring adult makes all the difference. Most students in rural communities of Guatemala are forced to leave school early because their families cannot afford school fees or they do not see the importance of completing their education.

One of our former scholarship students, Isabella, dropped out of school in the 4th grade. She was one of the youngest children in a family of 13 and it was not a surprise when she and her friends decided to abandon school. However, their teachers brought the situation to our attention and with the help of a scholarship, they quickly re-enrolled. Isabella still faced a lot of challenges and withstood pressure from friends and families urging her to leave school but four years later, Isabella is studying to become a teacher and hopes to pass on the love of learning to younger children.

When speaking to her about the scholarship program, Isabella told us that without the support from our staff, she would have left school in the 6th grade. She is so proud to have a degree and is excited by the opportunities available to her because she completed her education.  

We’re happy to provide the support that young students like Isabella need to complete their education in rural Guatemala and we hope to help many more in the future. Thanks for your ongoing support!

Students from Panabaj
Students from Panabaj
Students in Chacaya receiving school supplies
Students in Chacaya receiving school supplies
 

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