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Apr 9, 2019

Girls Will Build the Future

Elena with her school backpack
Elena with her school backpack

The students who are sponsored through the Primary Education Scholarships project overcome countless obstacles to getting an education every day. We believe that education empowers young people to build positive change in their communities—that’s why our team works hard to support passionate young learners with the resources they need to attend school and succeed. Elena and Dorcas are two students sponsored through the project whose education is made possible by donors like you. Below are the messages of hope, ambition, and gratitude that they would like to share with you, our extended Pueblo a Pueblo community.

 

Elena is a fourth grader at Panabaj Primary School. She writes about her neighborhood, “In Panabaj we are always happy.” To the donors who support her, she writes,

I am happy because of what you have given me. Thank you so much for the school supplies, backpack, and Christmas present. I am very grateful for your support because I need it very much. My parents are also thankful for the help you have given me. I hope that you can continue to support me because I need your help to continue studying.

My goal is to be a teacher and give a good education to the children in my community and to give a good example of success for them. It makes me so happy to talk about my dreams and goals. With nothing more to say, I say goodbye.

 

Dorcas is a fourth grader at Chacayá Primary School. She has a cat named Mateo and a dog named Monkey. To the donors who support her education, she writes,

I am in the fourth grade thanks to my parents because they have supported me and they look after me and my siblings so that we can reach our future goals and take advantage of our schooling. I’m also grateful that there is a little school in my community, because without that school my family would have to pay a lot more for me to study somewhere else.

If God wills it, in sixth grade I will have the power to study how to prevent violence in our community so that it does not go any further. In the event it happens, my parents will be very grateful. With the support you have given me, my father says that one day I can be the professional of my family because not only boys are able to study and we have the same rights.

 

We support students like Dorcas and Elena because we want to see them advocate for future generations of children like them. We want to see them fight for peace and justice in their communities. We want to see them grow up into confident women who know that they are just as capable as their brothers of changing the world for the better.

Your support fuels Dorcas and Elena’s success. Thank you for believing in young students like them and in the power of education!

Elena's letter to supporters
Elena's letter to supporters
Elena's drawing shows her town's traditional dress
Elena's drawing shows her town's traditional dress
Fourth-grader Dorcas with her school backpack
Fourth-grader Dorcas with her school backpack
Dorcas' letter to supporters
Dorcas' letter to supporters
Dorcas' drawing shows her family's pets
Dorcas' drawing shows her family's pets

Links:

Apr 8, 2019

Health Education Empowers Women

Concepcion with her son Juan at a MCH event
Concepcion with her son Juan at a MCH event

One of the key elements of the Maternal Child Health project at Pueblo a Pueblo is health education. Our team of educators leads monthly workshops to introduce project participants to new ideas and strategies related to health literacy and self-advocacy, empowering them to better care for themselves and their children. Family planning is one of the topics covered in these workshops, and when sponsored women turn this new knowledge into action, it often changes their lives in meaningful ways.

Concepción is a mother of six. With little support from her husband, who suffers from alcoholism, she often struggles to provide for her children. She joined the Maternal Child Health project in 2017 just before the birth of her son Juan. She was introduced to family planning methods when she started attending project workshops—but despite this new knowledge, she became pregnant again a year later.

Maternal Child Health project coordinator Rebeca Sosóf brought this up with Concepción during a check-in meeting last year. “We’re not trying to impart that having children is a bad thing,” she told Concepción. “However, family planning methods can help you provide for your children by considering your family’s situation in choosing the best time to have another child.”

Shortly after that meeting, Concepción began to use a family planning method. During last month’s check-in, she explained why she had been reluctant at first. “I didn’t understand what family planning had to do with my life," she told Rebeca. "I didn’t understand that in order to take care of my children, I have to take care of myself, too.” Rebeca was glad to see Concepción take this step. “We’ll be here to support Concepción as she continues to advocate for her own well-being,” she said.

Dolores wrapped up her time with the Maternal Child Health project in March of this year when her daughter Jennifer turned 5 years old. When she met with Rebeca for her final check-in, Dolores expressed thanks for the knowledge she gained from the project workshops. “I learned so many things that I wouldn’t have learned just staying at home,” she said.

Dolores told Rebeca that in January, she and her husband sat down to discuss their plans for the future and decided that they should begin to use a family planning method. She had not used a method before this year, she explained. “But after that conversation I was able to use the new knowledge I gained through the project to pick the best method for me.” Dolores and her husband then decided to begin a project they’d been considering for a while: building a new bathroom in their home! Now that Dolores has taken control of spacing her pregnancies by using a family planning method, the couple feels more confident in their ability to save up bit by bit until the project is complete.

“Family planning can bring long-lasting change to the lives of women,” says Rebeca, “especially women who live in rural and low-resource settings.” The stories of Concepción and Dolores are examples of the power of education to empower women and their families. Your support fuels their success—thank you for believing in Concepción, Dolores, and all the women of the Maternal Child Health project!

Dolores and her two daughters
Dolores and her two daughters

Links:

Apr 7, 2019

New Ways to Eat Healthy at Chacaya Primary School

Preparing a healthy meal under Sandy's instruction
Preparing a healthy meal under Sandy's instruction

The 2019 cycle of the School Nutrition project is in full swing here on Lake Atitlán! Sandy spent March planning and leading the first round of healthy cooking workshops in each of our five partner schools. The most recent training took place on March 19th at Chacayá Primary School.

The day of the training, Sandy rode from Santiago Atitlán to the community of Chacayá in the back of a pickup truck, a common form of public transportation in rural Guatemala. She paid the driver a little extra to take her right to the school, which sits on top of a very steep hill with a beautiful view of Lake Atitlán’s volcanos and the lagoon below. The extra boost was much needed—Sandy had some pretty hefty luggage with her, including a big sack containing no fewer than eight heads of cabbage!

Sandy set up her things in the school kitchen. When all of the participating mothers—each with one of their children in tow—had arrived, Sandy began the day’s activities. She started with a game to test participants’ knowledge. She handed out cards with a V for verdadero (“true”) on one side and an F for falso (“false”) on the other. “True or false: foods like chips and cookies help your children maintain a healthy weight?” she asked. "True or false: the two best ways to stay healthy are to eat healthy foods and exercise?" The students and their mothers giggled as the correct answers were announced. They listened as Sandy explained the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and the relationship between diet and body weight.

Sandy then announced the main dish of the day: stuffed cabbage! She divided the group into teams and gave instructions: wash and boil the cabbage, mix the meat-and-rice filling, and chop the elements of the day’s side dish: a broccoli and carrot salad. She sprinkled a mix of salt, pepper, clove, and dried garlic over the cabbage filling—and sprinkled some more over the broccoli as it cooked in a large pan. “The only way a lot of people in this community know how to prepare broccoli is in scrambled eggs—and cabbage is usually just boiled plain" she explained later. "I wanted to introduce these families to new ways of preparing these nutritious vegetables." She added, "I use the garlic seasoning because it's an easy way to make vegetables taste delicious! A lot of families aren't used to cooking with garlic, but they like it once they've tried it."

Sandy then showed the students and their mothers how to fold the cabbage leaves around the filling. Together, they filled up two huge pots with the stuffed leaves. While the dish cooked, everyone cleaned up and enjoyed a little down time together. At last, Sandy announced that the stuffed cabbage was done cooking, and the mothers filled up plastic containers with the final product to take home to their families for dinner!

The next months will bring new foods and new recipes into the kitchen at Chacayá Primary School—recipes that participating mothers can then make in their own kitchens at home. Sandy’s work introduces families to easy and affordable ways to incorporate nutrient-dense vegetables into their diets—invaluable knowledge when it comes to the healthy development of children! Your support helps mothers put healthy food on their families' dinner tables here in rural Guatemala. Thank you for believing in the power of education and the importance of nutrition!

Mothers participate in the opening activity
Mothers participate in the opening activity
Sandy shows students how to stuff cabbage
Sandy shows students how to stuff cabbage
Packing up food to take home for dinner!
Packing up food to take home for dinner!
Participating students try out the dishes
Participating students try out the dishes

Links:

 
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