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Feb 14, 2019

Your Donation Supports Women

Vilma gives a Menstrual Health Ambassador training
Vilma gives a Menstrual Health Ambassador training

Things are moving into place for the launch of Women’s Health Champions. Vilma has put the finishing touches on the project manual, which she will use to train the “Champions”— peer educators who will use what they learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) to educate and empower women in their communities. Vilma designed the curriculum specifically for this project, and as a member of the local indigenous Tz’utujil community, she created it with local cultural norms in mind.

Vilma will soon begin to select the first cohort of Champions. She and her team will choose women who can provide diverse perspectives in their peer-to-peer teaching. They will select both married and unmarried women, who will pair up to teach. Vilma is looking for women who are leaders in their communities, women who are creative, motivated, and interested in entrepreneurship. Once the cohort is selected, Vilma will be ready to bring her curriculum to life in workshops with the Champions-in-training.

We need your support to turn this project into reality. Your contribution of $10 buys one Champion’s training manual, and your contribution of $150 funds one training. We are also committed to providing each Champion with access to family planning methods so that they can translate their new knowledge of women’s health into effective self-advocacy. Your donation of $60 provides one Champion with the method of her choice for one year.

Also exciting is the ongoing development of the woman-run small business that will supply the materials needed for the Champions’ entrepreneurship activities. This social enterprise will manufacture reusable cloth menstrual pads for Champions to distribute—an opportunity for Champions to earn supplemental income while they promote menstrual health in their communities. Vilma is collaborating with the women’s health team at Aldea Maya, another community-based organization here in Santiago Atitlán, to found and support this small business through its infancy.

The enterprise already has two local women on board: Ana, who will serve as Director of Sales, and Juana María, who will serve as Director of Education. Both will also contribute to the business as seamstresses. Ana and Juana María will soon begin sewing training with a local collective of women artisans to gain the machine-sewing skills they need to produce the pads. All team members will also be trained to serve as menstrual health ambassadors in their communities in accordance with the social mission of the business. Vilma led the first training this week!

This new social enterprise needs your help to get off the ground. Like the leaders of any new business, Ana and Juana María need seed capital in order to start making, selling, and promoting their product. Their most pressing needs are sewing supplies and materials to make reusable pads.

Women’s Health Champions offers opportunities for women to build positive change in their communities as educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs—and it equips those same women to better care for their own bodies and selves. With your help, we can launch this project and bring life-changing education to women and girls who need it—consider making a contribution to Women’s Health Champions today!

Vilma meets with the team of the social enterprise
Vilma meets with the team of the social enterprise

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Jan 15, 2019

Christmas Baskets and a Happy New (School) Year!

Students with their new backpacks
Students with their new backpacks

For our Primary Education Scholarships team, the holiday season isn’t just a time for celebrating at home with family and friends—it’s also a time when they celebrate with sponsored students. And January isn’t just the beginning of a new calendar year—here in Guatemala, it is also the first month of a new school year! With plenty to do and so much on the horizon, it has been a busy and joyful month here at Pueblo a Pueblo.

Our team spent early December hauling box after box of fruit, rice, cooking oil, and other foods into the office. They arranged the items in large baskets for sponsored students to take home for the Christmas holidays, a time that can be stressful for families whose income is already stretched thin. The baskets full of staple foods will relieve some of this economic pressure as families prepare a traditional Guatemalan Christmas eve meal of tamales and celebrate the holiday together.

The afternoon of December 13, students and parents arrived at the office for the project's annual end-of year gathering. After some opening remarks from project manager Johanny Quiejú, the team passed out Christmas baskets to each student. Johanny then ended the gathering with a few announcements about the fast-approaching school year.

January brings a change of pace for kids who have been working, playing, and helping out at home since school let out in October. The first week of the new year, Johanny and her team were back at work, filling up backpacks with pencils, notebooks, rulers, and all of the other tools that sponsored students will need to succeed in school this year. In Santiago Atitlán, students must bring their own supplies to school; when families are unable to afford to buy everything students need to complete assignments, their academic performance suffers. And so, on January 10, Johanny and her team passed out a backpack to each of the sponsored students in attendance.

Here in the state of Sololá, where one of every three adults cannot read or write, the barriers to receiving even a primary school education are many, but the Primary Education Scholarship project helps students succeed in spite of those challenges. Behind every sponsored student is a sponsor who believes in her. A monthly donation of $30 provides a primary school student with the resources they need to thrive all year long. Consider sponsoring a student’s education today!

*If you are interested in beginning a new sponsorship, send us an email at communications@puebloapueblo.org.

Preparing Christmas baskets for sponsored students
Preparing Christmas baskets for sponsored students
Sponsored student Maria del Rosario and her mother
Sponsored student Maria del Rosario and her mother
Johanny hands out forms at back-to-school meeting
Johanny hands out forms at back-to-school meeting
Marza is ready for school!
Marza is ready for school!

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Jan 10, 2019

Reimagining the Fight Against Childhood Malnutrition

Participants at a healthy cooking workshop
Participants at a healthy cooking workshop

Thanks to donors like you, Pueblo a Pueblo has provided thousands of meals to students in primary schools across the Lake Atitlán region since the launch of its School Nutrition project in 2008. For the past ten years, we have worked to support schools with the economic resources they need to provide nourishing meals to students each day. Our efforts began as a direct response to a lack of funding for school lunches in local public schools, which translated into hunger, malnutrition, and poor academic performance among students. For many years, providing meals directly has been one of the best ways for us to make an impact in the lives of students throughout our partner communities.

In 2018, however, the Guatemalan government increased its support of school lunch programs, and our partner schools began to receive consistent school meal subsidies. Rather than duplicate a service now being provided by the government, we have taken this opportunity to pursue a more sustainable project model exclusively focused on improving students’ nutritional intake at home in the long-term. This updated model consists of educational activities in two areas already central to Pueblo a Pueblo’s programming: home agriculture and healthy cooking.

Our new Educational Organic Garden will be used to conduct workshops that introduce local students and their teachers to gardening techniques they can use to grow nutritious organic vegetables at home. Rather than being located at any one school, the new garden will allow many school groups access to the same educational space. This garden will also act as an incubator for new home agriculture techniques, encouraging a culture of collaboration and innovation among local home gardeners.

Our model of school-based nutrition trainings, developed by our team during the past two years, provides parents and students with the knowledge they need to turn home-grown vegetables into nutritious meals for their families. Project staff also impart the importance of a healthy diet and lead participatory demonstrations of recipes that incorporate nutritious foods in ways that are new for participants but easily replicated at home. Staff also teach food safety practices to help participants protect their families from food-borne illness.

Together, these two educational projects equip families to use the environmental resources present in their communities to improve their nutritional outcomes and overall wellness. Now that students in our partner communities receive a nutritious school lunch, we can focus on making sure they eat well all day long—and into the future! Thank you for supporting Pueblo a Pueblo as we fight malnutrition here in rural Guatemala.

A local mother at a healthy cooking workshop
A local mother at a healthy cooking workshop
Packing seeds for the educational garden
Packing seeds for the educational garden
A student in the educational garden
A student in the educational garden

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