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...
Jul 6, 2016

Kitchen Renovations

The renovated kitchen at La Cumbre School
The renovated kitchen at La Cumbre School

Our School Nutrition project has been very busy the first half of this year. Hot school meals were put on hold for six months while we took on a huge project in our partner schools: kitchen renovations.

In many of the schools, kitchen conditions were so poor that it was difficult to prepare students meals. At La Cumbre School, for example, there was no proper sink for washing hands, vegetables, or cooking pots. Kitchens lacked equipment like pots and pans, and the pots they did have had holes in them. There were no counters or storage space, so materials were stored on the floor, and the cooks (school mothers) were forced to prepare food on very old tables that were difficult to keep clean. At Nueva Vida School, the kitchen measured only 6 by 7 feet -- in a school serving over 270 students!  

Even though the students had access to healthy food, there was no way to guarantee that the food could be prepared effectively and hygienically. After conducting an evaluation of the kitchens at each of our partner schools, we decided to partner with school leadership to undertake renovations at four schools.

Since the beginning of 2016, we have worked with leadership at Nueva Vida, San Andres, Pacoc, and Nueva Providencia Schools. At  La Cumbre, we supported the installation of a new absorption well, new counters and shelving, and a new sink. At Nueva Vida, the kitchen was expanded, and a new roof was built to prevent leaks into the kitchen. And all of the schools now have new pots and pans and other necessary kitchen utensils.

Along with kitchen renovations, Pueblo a Pueblo educators have been working with the mothers who prepare the school meals. Mothers have learned to cook more nutritious meals using a variety of new ingredients, like spinach.

We began providing meals again this week, now that the kitchen improvements are finished, and we are very happy with the results--so are the mothers who will be using them!

Preparing food in the new kitchen at La Cumbre
Preparing food in the new kitchen at La Cumbre
Cooking a nutritious meal for our students
Cooking a nutritious meal for our students
Pacoc School
Pacoc School's renovated kitchen
Jul 5, 2016

A Unique Success Story

Concepcion smiling after her surgery
Concepcion smiling after her surgery

Concepcion is not your normal 9 year old girl. As a baby, her parents found a small lump on top of her head. When they brought her to the doctor, they were told the lump was not dangerous and would pass with time.

For the next few years, Concepcion lived with the small lump on her head. When she turned 6 years old, her parents took her back to the doctor. They got the same response: surgery wasn’t necessary, and she would have to live with the uncomfortable lump.

In the past six months, however, Concepcion started to feel more and more discomfort. Her teacher began to notice that she was not feeling well, and saw that Concepcion kept leaving class to go to the bathroom and splash water on her face to relieve the pain.

Given her increasing discomfort, Concepcion’s parents decided to bring her back to the doctor this year. To their relief, the doctor said they could go through with the surgery to remove the lump, and referred them to a health center in Solola, the capital of the state. But there was one problem: how to cover the costs of the procedure.

This is the kind of situation in which your support is crucial. Although Concepcion’s older sister, Dolores, is sponsored through our Primary Education Scholarships Project, Concepcion was not. When their parents reached out to tell us about her illness, we moved her to the top of our waitlist for new sponsored students. Luckily, there was an existing sponsor interested in supporting another child, and who was able to sponsor Concepcion.

After she became sponsored through our project, Pueblo a Pueblo was able to help cover the family’s expenses with your support. Our Primary Education Scholarships Project is committed to helping students with any medical expenses by putting aside $5 of every $25 donated towards a medical savings fund. This means that we collect over $500 every month dedicated to medical expenses. In general, only about 10 students need to visit the doctor each month because of minor illnesses.The rest of the money is dedicated to group medical campaigns and unique cases like Concepcion’s.

Because of your support, Concepcion was able to get the medical attention she needed. It has been one month since her surgery, and she is now pain free and happier than ever. Her family is relieved to see their daughter feeling better, and we at Pueblo a Pueblo are grateful for your support that helped to make this happen.

Bonus: Concepcion starred in our "Learn Tz'utujil" video this month! Check out the link below.

Project Manager, Johanny, visiting the family
Project Manager, Johanny, visiting the family
Concepcion with her mother and younger sister
Concepcion with her mother and younger sister

Links:

Jul 5, 2016

Student Leaders Take Charge

Student Literacy Ambassadors
Student Literacy Ambassadors

Our partner schools have seen much more activity in their libraries since the beginning of the year -- in part because of the efforts of a group of student leaders known as Literacy Ambassadors.

At the beginning of the school year in late January, each of our partner schools chose a group of 8 fifth and sixth grade students to be Literacy Ambassadors. After the first month of the year, however, the teachers and librarians found that the older students’ excitement about being Ambassadors was waning. They met with the students, and decided to choose a new group of third and fourth grade students that would be more likely to motivate their peers.

Since teachers at La Cumbre and Chacaya schools chose the younger groups of Literacy Ambassadors in mid-March, the libraries have seen a huge increase in student participation. The student ambassadors are responsible for guiding other students to the library during their 30 minute recess, and assisting in each day’s literacy activities. For example, on days when the recess activity is reading stories in the library, student ambassadors will each read a story out loud to a small group of other students.

The enthusiastic participation of the new Literacy Ambassadors has helped to significantly increase student use of the libraries. At the beginning of the year, students were only borrowing books from the library on Wednesdays, which had been designated as book-borrowing day. In February and March, students at Chacaya school borrowed only 54 and 58 books, respectively. Since April, however, students have been going to the library every day of the week to borrow books. In April, May, and June, students borrowed 201, 302, and 330 books!

We’re excited to see more students excited about reading, and to see student literacy ambassadors leading their peers!

Literacy Ambassadors in the library
Literacy Ambassadors in the library
 
   

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