Hunger
 Guatemala
Project #11917

Feed a Guatemalan Child-Improve Grade 6 Completion

by Mil Milagros, Inc.
Gracias!
Gracias!

“We aren’t hungry now because of the food from Mil Milagros. That’s important because when we are hungry, we can’t do our school work well.” - Mil Milagros’s child

Thank you for supporting Mil Milagros’s (A Thousand Miracles) school-nutrition program. We are no longer raising funds through the Global Giving site and invite you to support the children of Mil Milagros at www.milmilagros.org

Our partnership with you and more than 500 indigenous Maya mother and grandmother volunteers in Guatemala is making a lasting difference in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Highlights includes:

-          500+ mothers and grandmothers have learned about nutrition and hygiene, and how to prepare nourishing     meals using the beautiful foods grown here in Guatemala. “We have new knowledge that is very important for us, our children, our families, and our communities,” according to one of our mother volunteers.

-          The children love the meals, are learning to eat different kinds of vegetables, and relish the fresh fruit that Mil Milagros provides for them each school day. As one child explained, “The food is important because it makes us healthy and strong. It helps our bodies and we like to eat the vegetables and fruit.”

-          The children are drinking water! This is something we may take for granted in the U.S. and the U.K., but there is no culture of drinking water in Guatemala where 98% of the water supply is reported (by the Ministry of Health) to be contaminated. MM has installed water filters in early school classroom and kitchen and replaced sugary “refrescos” with clean water. As one mother shared, “Before Mil Milagros, the children would get sick from drinking unpurified water.”

-          MM has developed a robust school-based health and hygiene program that we are implementing in partnership with our mother and grandmother. The children now brush their teeth and wash their hands regularly, benefit from fluoride varnish (which we taught the mothers to apply), de-licing shampoo, deworming medications, and other essential supports. “I like giving the talks to the children and seeing that they have less lice on their heads. Mil Milagros has done so much to help,” said one mother volunteer.
 
-          MM provides every child with a textbook and each teacher with a guide. We are promoting literacy in our partner schools by implementing a number of strategies including the creation of school lending libraries.One mother observed, “We have seen a change. Now the children bring their books home and are learning to read.”

An average of 96% of the sixth graders in Mil Milagros’s partner schools have graduated over the past four years, compared to the national average of just 40%. In the words of one mother leader, “Before the children were only making it to fourth grade. But not anymore. Now most are completing sixth grade.” And now these children have a solid foundation on which to pursue a better life. Mil gracias from all of us at Mil Milagros.

Lunch is served!
Lunch is served!
Mother and grandmother volunteers
Mother and grandmother volunteers
Almuerzo/lunch
Almuerzo/lunch
Buen provecho!
Buen provecho!

Links:

Mother leaders group foods for balanced meals
Mother leaders group foods for balanced meals

Since our last update, the Mil Milagros staff team has been busy partnering with more than 500 mother and grandmother volunteers to implement our nutrition, hygiene, and education programs in our partner schools and communities.  The children recently shared that the meals that they receive in school allow them to eat nourishing foods that they don’t have access to in their homes.  They often cite chicken, for example, as something they love and only get at school, thanks to Mil Milagros. In addition, we inaugurated two new school kitchens and bathrooms and worked with the communities to equip them.

Lucy, our Nutrition Coordinator, works closely with 28 mother and grandmother leaders teaching them new recipes and training them to give talks to their peers on a range of nutrition topics.  The leaders then create their own props and materials and share their knowledge with the other 500+ mother volunteers.  The leaders learn not only about nutrition and hygiene but develop public speaking and leadership skills.  Manuela, one of the mother leaders, told us, “Thanks to Mil Milagros, I am learning what is good and bad for our children, so they can be healthy.  And now, I am sharing that knowledge with other mothers, too.”

We are delighted to see these mothers and grandmothers blossom as leaders in their children’s schools and communities as they share their knowledge with others.  As one mother leader said, “We have a responsibility to share the information that we learn with the other mothers, our families, and our communities, so we can give our children a better future.”  We couldn’t agree more and we know that with partners like these incredible mother and grandmother leaders, and with your help, we can help give these children the future they deserve.

Nutrition demonstration in new kitchen
Nutrition demonstration in new kitchen
Mothers serve children lunch in new kitchen
Mothers serve children lunch in new kitchen
Lunch time!
Lunch time!

Links:

Kevin in his new 1st grade classroom
Kevin in his new 1st grade classroom

As the new school year begins in Guatemala, it is a joy to see so many of our old friends in their new classrooms—and also to meet some new ones.  As we celebrate inaugurations in our partner schools, the year has brought us 89 new first graders.  Each of these children, along with hundreds of their other school mates, will receive a nutritious lunch each school day prepared by teams of mother and grandmother volunteers. Training of the mothers and grandmothers and food products are funded by MM donors.  In addition, each child will receive a textbook and hygiene supplies including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toilet paper.  For many of these first graders, it will be their first toothbrush ever.  Last November, we hired our first ever Health and Hygiene Coordinator who will train mothers to lead workshops that teach the children how to properly use their toothbrushes, among other important hygiene topics to keep everyone healthy.

Kevin is one of our new first graders.  He is seven years old and says that school is exciting, not scary.  He loves going to school because his teacher, Mrs. Lety, is fun, and knows so many things   that she teaches them every day.  For example, this year she is going to teach him how to read all by himself.  When he grows up and finishes school, Kevin wants to be a police officer.  He isn’t quite sure what police officers do all of the time, but he wants to be able to catch bad guys and put them in jail.  He has big dreams for such a little guy!

It is always a busy process to prepare for the start of each new school year.  During the months since our last report, we held our annual mother’s retreat with 34 mother and grandmother leaders from our schools who joined to share their experiences and learn together.  We met with teachers, mothers, members of the MM Boards of Directors in each partner school, and local elected officials to evaluate our 2014 programs and to plan for 2015.  We also raised funds to build kitchens and bathrooms in two of our partner schools.  In December, the office was busy as our coordinators developed new curricula for the mothers and grandmothers who participate in our nutrition trainings, hygiene workshops, and early childhood nutrition program.  Now that the planning is finished, we look forward to implementing all of the activities we have prepared for a successful 2015.

Receiving hygiene supplies at the schools
Receiving hygiene supplies at the schools
Mother volunteers with new kitchen supplies
Mother volunteers with new kitchen supplies
School lunches start again!
School lunches start again!
Recognizing mother leaders at annual retreat
Recognizing mother leaders at annual retreat
Community evaluation and planning
Community evaluation and planning

Links:

Selvin
Selvin's sixth grade graduation

October brings graduations in Guatemala.  As the school year ends, we have been celebrating with the sixth grade students and their families at our five partner schools.  Most students are joyful about achieving this important milestone, while others are sad to say goodbye in face an uncertain future.  In a country where graduation rates are notoriously low—only 66% of school age children finish primary school—we are encouraged to see so many students finishing primary school. This year, 97% of our sixth graders graduated.  Selvin is one example of that success.  A 13-year-old graduate of our partner school in Nuevo Progreso, Selvin had perfect attendance and good grades this year.  It hasn’t been easy. With seven brothers and sisters, Selvin and his family struggle to live with their father´s irregular income as he works as a day laborer in the fields whenever he can find work. 

Selvin´s mother, Doña Andrea, believes strongly in the importance of education for her children.  That is why she serves on the Mil Milagros Board of Directors at her children´s school. In this leadership role, she is in charge of organizing the other mother and grandmother volunteers and ensuring that they attend trainings, meetings and other events. She cooks at the school twice a week.  Her commitment and hard-work have paid off.  In addition to Selvin, she has three children who will graduate from high school next year, another studying in middle school, and three more still in primary school.  She explains, “I would have liked to study, but with eight children, it’s too late for me now.  But my children will be professionals.”

As for Selvin, he is a little nervous to go to middle school, but says he is excited to have new experiences. With a strong love of math, he wants to not only go to college, but get a doctorate degree in mathematics.  His dream job is to work in a bank as an accountant.  One of the things he loves the most about Mil Milagros is that we gave him a textbook so he can study not only at school, but also at home.  He says that having a textbook means he can learn about things on his own that he never even imagined. 

As the school year comes to an end, we are happy to report that with your support and the hard work of our 545 mother and grandmother volunteers, we were able to feed nearly 1000 children every school day in Guatemala. These children also received fluoride treatments, lice treatments, and deworming medications as they learned about hygiene. Last week, they received their final toothbrushes of the year to take home to use during the months that they will be on vacation. In addition, we collaborated with two other organizations to build a school in Nuevo Progreso and homes for the 22 families in another one of our partner communities who have been homeless for four years ago. We look forward to working with each of our partner schools and communities to plan for a successful 2015 school year!

Dona Andrea cooking for the students
Dona Andrea cooking for the students
Dona Andrea and her youngest children
Dona Andrea and her youngest children
Nuevo Progreso
Nuevo Progreso

Links:

Nikte
Nikte

Nikte is one of the 35 children with whom Mil Milagros works in the community of Chutinamit. This very special young lady has overcome incredible obstacles to reach sixth grade where she is a top student in her class. Nikte's family, along with 21 other families, has been homeless since Tropical Storm Agatha ravaged their community in May 2010. The families were forced to leave their mountainside village and set up shelters in a windblown field. Mil Milagros had been working with the community for three years when they become homeless. To help mitigate their very difficult circumstances, we expanded our school-based nutrition program year round and incorporated all the young children into the program too. We rented rooms in a weavers’ cooperative to recreate the children’s school, and funded a “vacation school” so the children would have enrichment activities during their November and December recess. We funded portable gardens so the children could grow radishes, beans, and cilantro. And we secured much needed medical care for the community.

Like most of the 1,000+ children with whom Mil Milagros partners, Nikte plans to continue studying once she graduates from sixth grade. She wants to become a nurse so that she can “help others who need help.”  Not surprisingly, she is drawn to mathematics and natural sciences and says she wants to learn all about cellular systems. In addition to her passion for math and science, Nitke is also a gifted artist. She and both her siblings were among the six winners of this year’s Mil Milagros drawing contest at the Chutinamit school. Her winning drawing was incorporated into the beautiful mural that she and her classmates painted outside the front door

Last month, we were thrilled to join with the community, the Sisters of the Holy Eucharist, and our partners from ConstuCasa to break ground in the new Chutinamit. Nikte says the houses that are at long last being built are great.  She is especially excited that her new home will have cement floors (instead of dirt) and that she will have a bathroom with a shower. 

When we asked Nikte if she had a message to share with Mil Milagros’s “amigos,” she said, “Thank you for the books, the food, and the fruit so that we can study, play and be happy.”

Nitke and her fellow mural design winners
Nitke and her fellow mural design winners
Nitke working on her school mural
Nitke working on her school mural
Nitke and her classmates with their embroidery
Nitke and her classmates with their embroidery
Nitke and classmates with their lunch
Nitke and classmates with their lunch
New house under construction for Nikte
New house under construction for Nikte's family

Links:

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Organization Information

Mil Milagros, Inc.

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.milmilagros.org
Mil Milagros, Inc.
Project Leader:
Margaret Blood
Founder/Executive Director
Boston, MA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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