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Nov 12, 2019

Women Supporting (Young) Women

Vilma introduces teen participants to the product
Vilma introduces teen participants to the product

Our team is hard at work spreading the word about menstrual health—and promoting our partners’ earth-friendly reusable menstrual pads among the young people of Santiago Atitlán.

In September, Vilma and Rebeca were invited to participate in a local health fair designed to introduce teens to a variety of topics related to sexual health. They were asked to present on reproductive anatomy and menstrual health.

Middle- and high-school students passed through the Pueblo a Pueblo tent all day. Rebeca gave each incoming group a brief introduction to the male and female reproductive systems, and Vilma spoke to them about the menstrual cycle.

At the end of Vilma’s presentation, she passed out cloth menstrual pads made by Ixaq Ch’ajch’oj, a local woman-led microbusiness and partner of Pueblo a Pueblo’s Woman’s Right to Health program. The teens looked closely at the pads, unsnapping each menstrual “pod” to inspect the detachable cloth tucked inside its impermeable protector.

Vilma and Rebeca are dedicated to equipping young people with the knowledge and tools they need to keep themselves healthy—and Ixaq Ch’ajch’oj is one of their key partners in this endeavor. By providing a low-waste, affordable alternative to disposable menstrual products—and challenging taboos around menstruation at the same time—Ixaq Ch’ajch’oj is making the world a better place for women of all ages.

Can you help us launch this new microbusiness into self-sufficiency? Your gift to Women’s Health Champions will help bring sustainable menstrual health products to women across the Lake Atitlán region and provide a source of sustainable income for the women who make them.

Rebeca and intern Denise at the fair
Rebeca and intern Denise at the fair
Rebeca speaks to teens about reproductive anatomy
Rebeca speaks to teens about reproductive anatomy
Vilma explains the menstrual cycle
Vilma explains the menstrual cycle
Reusable pads on display at the fair
Reusable pads on display at the fair

Links:

Sep 27, 2019

A New Toolbox for Moms

Two mothers participate in the workshop
Two mothers participate in the workshop

On Tuesday morning, Rebeca Sosof unlocked the Pueblo a Pueblo office early to set up for a Maternal Child Health project workshop. The participating moms arrived soon after; some of them held hands with little ones old enough to wobble in on their own feet, while others carried their babies wrapped up in blankets, snoozing away.

The women were gathering to learn about child development—one of the topics Rebeca and the Maternal Child Health team believe is vital to raising healthy kids. “I tell participants, ‘During the first five years of life, your child’s development is in your hands,’” Rebeca says. “‘You can do so much for your child just by engaging with them, playing with them.’” Mothers who have had an introduction to the topic are more likely to detect developmental abnormalities in their children, Rebeca adds, which can make a life-changing difference for kids who need specialized medical or therapeutic interventions.

During the workshop, Rebeca taught participants about four different areas of development and led them through a series of corresponding exercises. She started by discussing gross motor development and leading the mothers in a game of hopscotch—a great way for kids to gain the strength and coordination they need to perform everyday actions like walking, running, and sitting upright. After addressing fine motor skills and emotional development, Rebeca finished the workshop with a memory game to model positive cognitive development.

The morning was full of games and physical activities, with lots of laughter shared between the women in attendance. The tone of the workshop was intentional, says Rebeca. “When I visit these women at their homes, they tell me about the problems they face every day—problems with husbands and family members, health problems, money problems,” she says. “Many of them have told me that these workshops are like a refuge for them, so I try to make them fun and relaxing.”

But Rebeca is also glad to see participants inspired to apply what they’ve learned—like Elena, who told her after Tuesday’s session, “I'm definitely going to try these exercises with my little one—I just wish I had done more of them with my older children when they were younger!” We incorporate education across the majority of our projects because we believe in the power of moms like Elena to build healthier families and communities using what they learn. Thank you for believing in the Maternal Child Health project. Your support fuels our success!

Rebeca addresses participants
Rebeca addresses participants
Participants wait in line for an activity
Participants wait in line for an activity
Jumping through a mini-obstacle course
Jumping through a mini-obstacle course

Links:

Sep 27, 2019

Next Stop: Save the Native Bees

The new apiary built for native stingless bees
The new apiary built for native stingless bees

This month, our partners in San Pablo La Laguna will celebrate one year together as a beekeeping team. Over the past year, they've worked hard to find their rhythm and establish some efficient group practices. In recent weeks, the beekeepers have taken on a new challenge: starting a second apiary for native stingless bees.

The group’s main apiary consists of 22 hives of European honey bees. This variety is widely used throughout the world because they produce large amounts of sweet honey. However, the San Pablo team is interested in more than just producing honey—they want to help preserve the biodiversity of their lakeside home, especially its native pollinators.

Last month, the group set up ten new hives with the assistance of Pueblo a Pueblo’s Senior Beekeeping Technician Genaro Simalaj. Their new apiary is home to five distinct varieties of native stingless bees. The group plans to transition into a two-part model: in addition to harvesting, bottling, and selling honey from their apiaries, they will operate as a beekeeping training center, offering technical instruction in beekeeping techniques and selling starter materials.

Since the group formed, they have been invested in sharing what they learn so that the benefits of the project can be multiplied. We’re proud to be working alongside beekeepers who are so dedicated to their families, their community, and their natural environment. Thank you for your investment in beekeeping for coffee farmers—your support fuels our San Pablo partners’ success!

A team-building exercise at a recent training
A team-building exercise at a recent training
A bee hard at work in the group's main apiary
A bee hard at work in the group's main apiary

Links:

 
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