Project #2394

Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty

Sandra and her daughter Ana
Sandra and her daughter Ana

When we saw Sandra, 21, at a recent mobile clinic, she looked tired and bit sad. She explained that she came on foot from her village, about 2 hours away, with one-and-a-half year old Ana in tow. Her aunt had told her that the WINGS mobile clinic would be arriving in the center of town a few days ago and Sandra did not want to miss it.

Upon asking Sandra why she it was important to her to come to the clinic, she hesitated a moment, but then went on to explain that that her husband, a day laborer, drinks too much. “It isn’t fair to bring any more children into the situation we are currently living in,” she said. 

She had used hormonal injections and condoms as forms of birth control in the past, but Sandra wanted a more reliable method. Her face lit up a bit when she began to talk about the Jadelle, the hormonal birth control implant which will protect her from unwanted pregnancies for up to five years. “There is nothing I have to remember to do. It just keeps working. I liked the talk that [WINGS Family Planning Educator] Ester gave because I now know exactly what to expect.”

Sandra also expressed her gratitude for the reduced price because it meant that she could pay for the implant with a bit of the money that she usually spends on household expenses, like food and cleaning supplies. Lamentably, not every story we come upon is a cheery one, but we hope by providing Sandra access to a reliable birth control method, she feels more empowered. 

The family was happy that WINGS visited their town
The family was happy that WINGS visited their town

It is not typical to see men at our Family Planning Mobile Clinics.  Instead, a group of women normally assembles to listen to WINGS’ presentation and chat as they wait their turn to have a private talk with one of our Family Planning Educators.  The room swarms with small children-running, playing, crying, getting fed.  Husbands, boyfriends, and other men are usually out working or uninterested in attending.  However, this day in Santa Clara La Laguna, on the coast of Guatemala´s renowned Lake Atitlan, was different. 

Juana, a 24-year-old housewife, came accompanied not only by her two sons (the older at two-and-a-half years and the younger, a four-month-old bright-eyed baby), but also her husband Ever.  Ever had seen the announcement for WINGS’ mobile clinic in the town hall and was very interested.  On the day of the clinic, he came to make sure his wife’s procedure went well and to take care of the two boys while she was with the doctor. 

Ever is a day laborer and does not always have steady work.  He says despite economic difficulties he wants to be the best dad he can be, and that means “having the least number of children to provide for possible.”

Juana strongly agrees.  She came to the clinic to get a hormonal contraceptive implant which will give her family protection for up to four years.  “At times,” she says, “I feel helpless with our economic situation because I have to take care of the kids and cannot go out and find a job, but this is a way I can take responsibility to help us both feel less stress.”

This couple was satisfied with the decision they made for the wellbeing of their family.  They were also very grateful to WINGS who provided the service at a deeply subsidized price. 

Silvia the day of the WINGS Family Planning Clinic
Silvia the day of the WINGS Family Planning Clinic

Silvia, 27, originally found out about WINGS from a neighbor.  She returned to a WINGS mobile family planning clinic to renew her hormonal birth control implant, Jadelle.  This small device, which is about the size of a matchstick, is placed under the skin of the upper arm and has a life span of about 4 years.  

Silvia previously used hormonal injections to prevent pregnancy, but she is happy that, because of the implant, she doesn´t have to make the trip to the nearest health center every month.  She saves money on bus fare and there is no risk that she will forget to go. 

Silvia and her husband have two boys and they are quite satisfied with that number of children.  It is a simple matter of mathematics.  “With fewer children, you are able to give each one more.  More clothes, more food, more time.”  Her husband paints houses and since the budget is already tight, she knows that his salary won´t be sufficient to support more than four people. 

Family planning empowers Silvia.  She explains, “This is an opportunity that allows us to expand our possibilities. As women, this is an opportunity we have to take care of ourselves.”


Catalina, a 35 year-old mother of three, was taking her sick son to clinic in her community in Patzún when she encountered Ana, a WINGS Family Planning Educator.  Ana told Catalina that she was only visiting for the day, but would be back in the area the following week to conduct a talk about family planning.

Catalina was interested in learning more about family planning, as she told Ana that while she has three children, she has also had three pregnancies that ended in abortion.  Because she was poor and illiterate, Catalina didn’t have access to family planning methods.

The next week, Catalina attended the discussion, and spoke more with Ana about her options. Ana was able to refer her to receive an IUD, so now Catalina is able to live without worrying about future unplanned pregnancies.

To learn more about WINGS' family planning program, visit


Luis Miguel is 32 years old and has two children. He comes from a family of 18. Luis is illiterate because his parents could not afford to send him to go to school, and he desperately wants his kids to avoid the same fate. Knowing that he and his wife would not be able to financially support a third child, he took matters into his own hands. In passing, Luis heard about a family planning clinic day and decided to attend to receive a WINGS-subsidized vasectomy after a discussion with his wife.

"I told my wife I didn’t want to have more kids, but I needed her as a wife and a partner to be sure not to have more kids.  I want to give my children what they need, build them a house, send them to school through university, clothe them and make sure they live happily. The same for my wife – I want to enjoy going on walks and spending time with my kids and family. I am very pleased with WINGS and everyone that is committed to family planning, and continue to assist families. God bless them."

To learn more about WINGS' family planning program, visit


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information


Location: Antigua, N/A - Guatemala
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sally Parmelee
Development Coordinator
Antigua, Guatemala
$36,862 raised of $40,000 goal
633 donations
$3,138 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. Learn more.
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.