Your donations over the past few months have facilitated two new projects in our Maternal Health Program here in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.
The first is an embroidery workshop with some of the women in our Family Planning Champions program. Each Saturday morning they receive embroidery instruction from a professional who is assisted by several individuals currently working in our MCH program. Upon entering the workshop most of the women did not know how to embroider, but they have made impressive strides in a few short weeks and are looking forward to displaying and selling their first embroidered patches. Learning embroidery in Santiago Atitlan is a very important skill for Tz’utujil women because nearly every woman and girl wears the traditional Huipil (a colorful, hand-woven and hand-embroidered shirt with birds and flowers). It is the pride of the Tz’utujil community and many women spend long hours weaving and adorning their huipiles. It is also one of the few activities that women they can do while they are at home taking care of their children. Huipiles and textile cloth can be very costly, so if a woman can embroider her own huipil, she won't have to pay anyone else to do it for her. This skill can help women save a huge amount of money, and can also provide entrepreneurial opportunities for her and her family if they sell the embroidered products in the market. Santiago Atitlán is famous for its beautiful and complex textiles, and there is a demand for them throughout the rest of Guatemala and internationally. Teaching women how to embroider is one of the best ways to encourage social entrepreneurship and empower women within the Tz’utujil community.
The second project is an HIV awareness and testing campaign. In fact, it’s first year that Pueblo a Pueblo and the Municipal government of Santiago have worked together to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. For the National Week Against HIV (August 19th-23rd) the Municipality provided rapid HIV tests that were administered free-of-charge, with the goal of testing at least 500 people during the week. Pueblo a Pueblo helped plan the week’s events with local government officials and financed the ‘Get Tested’ campaign to promote HIV awareness, detection, and prevention. Correspondingly, the MCH program oriented the trainings for its beneficiary women around HIV transmission and prevention and encouraged them to get tested for HIV.
We deeply appreciate all you have done to make these projects possible. Your generosity has provided women in Santiago both with the ability to generate income independently and with basic knowledge about the transmission and prevention of HIV.