Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families

by Guatemala Housing Alliance
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families
Change the lives of 100 Mayan Families

Guatemala's new school year began in January, and Guatemala Housing Alliance is proudly providing scholarships for 58 students.    10 of these students are in universities now, studying for such diverse degrees as nursing, social work, education and law.    To date 5 GHA sponsored students have finished their university studies and entered the workforce as social workers, engineers, educators and managers.   These are remarkable accomplishments, especially for indigenous youth from families living in deep poverty.   

If you would like to offer a scholarship to a deserving student, you can do so through our website.

GHA's floor project has resumed, though the price of cement has risen substantially since the pandemic's onslaught.   In fact, inflation of everyday products has made life even more onerous for the poor.  (The rent on GHA's office in San Juan has literally doubled.)

We continue to expand our educational support for the mothers of our scholarship students.   With GHA backing they are raising vegetables and poultry, both their own sustenance and for market.   

Tutoring has become our major focus in Covid times.   Without computers or books, kids from these four communities have needed the special individualized instruction that our teachers offer, and they are thriving. 

GHA, along with Water4Life International, have distributed hundreds of water filters in the communities we serve during this last year.

On behalf of those we serve, we thank you for your support.

Teachers of GHA's tutoring program
Teachers of GHA's tutoring program
distributing water filters with Water4Life
distributing water filters with Water4Life
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Friends and Donors,    

10 years!!!   GHA celebrated its 10th year as a nonprofit in October, supporting the educational and housing needs of indigenous communities in Guatemala’s highlands.

While in 2020 our attention and finances were necessarily diverted to pandemic related humanitarian aid, by January of this year, 2021, we were back to our primary missions.

Only in recent months have vaccines started becoming available, and distribution has been unequal.   Solola, the Department in which GHA works, is 98% indigenous Maya and has had little access.   Schools have been open only sporadically, and students, without books or computers, have struggled to keep up.   In response, this year GHA created tutoring centers in 4 communities.   The students whose education GHA sponsors, as well as many others in these towns, now receive individualized attention using the Montessori model.   

This year our mothers’ workshops expanded to include both communal and private vegetable gardens.   Besides providing needed nutrition, the women can grow enough to market to better support their families.

GHA is again replacing dirt floors in homes with cement.   This has a dramatic effect, and has a relatively minor cost, on average less than $200 per house.  According to a World Bank study, a cement floor reduces parasites in the home by 78%, diarrhea by 49%, anemia by 81%.   Children’s cognitive development improves by 36-98% as the child is no longer competing with parasites for energy.

So, now, 10 years in GHA has accomplished a lot.   With the help of our donors we have:

  • Built 47 homes
  • Laid 151 floors in otherwise serviceable homes.  Now we’re aiming to lay one per week.
  • Replaced 45 roofs
  • Built 2 classrooms and painted or rehabbed multiple community buildings
  • Sponsored the education of students:   72 this year alone, 12 of whom are in college.
  • Offered both enrichment classes and tutoring to those students
  • Started a uke-based music program
  • Taught beading to a group of women to help generate income for their families.  (These can be ordered online from Mexicali Blues, a fine supporter of GHA.)
  • Created workshops for moms, where they can explore topics they themselves choose, like nutrition, legal rights, sanitation, and crafts.   And gardens!!
  • Supplied humanitarian aid early in the pandemic...1340 parcels of food, each to feed a family for 2 weeks.
  • Twice coordinated with Water 4 Life Global to distribute water filters to hundreds of homes.

We couldn’t do this without the support from you, our partners.   On behalf of the many families who have benefited, we thank you.

As from its inception, all overhead expenses are covered by the founding family, so all other donations directly support its projects. 




floors:  making homes more habitable
floors: making homes more habitable
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GHA continues its current focus on education, having been forced to align to the realities and challenges of the pandemic.   Guatemala is still mightily burdened with Covid-19 occurrence and restriction, with only 2% of people having received vaccinations.   Schools and education have been heavily impacted.   GHA has committed its resources to support the 72 students we sponsor as well as others in the communities.   Currently we have mentoring centers in 4 communities, with a staff of 10 teachers and assistants.   We coordinate with the public schools, but our methods are aligned with the Montessori method rather than rote.   We promote creative and discerning thought. 

Additionally, we offer workshops for our sponsored students as well as for their mothers.    For the moms, these provide an opportunity for women to commune as well as to study topics they themselves dictate:  nutrition, gardening, cooking, legal issues, stds, crafts, and an ever evolving list of subjects.

The themes of the student’s workshops are all life affirming, often about diversity, responsibility, citizenship, humanity.  These workshops are well attended and appreciated, touching subjects outside the realm of public education.

AND....we continue to lay floors for families who have had only dirt.

As always, your donations directly impact these programs, and we are most appreciative.   

Moms studying nutrition
Moms studying nutrition
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This very week, GHA has again launched into floor building.   That part of our mission has been on hold because of the pandemic and social distancing.   Traditionally, families would contribute 25% of the cost of a floor, but since covid-19 has decimated the already anemic economy, there is no money to spare.  But there is still need. Each family receiving a floor now will be asked only to contribute a family member as helper for the 2-day process of a floor build.   

GHA's other mission is education.   The school year in Guatemala begins in January, and this year GHA is happy to sponsor the education of 70 Tz'tujil students, from elementary to university grades.   12 are now in college with studies including nursing, education, engineering, biology, and social work.  

The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on the continuity of education and many our younger scholarship students are really struggling.   In response, GHA has significantly expanded our mentoring (refuerzos) program, allowing each child access to the help they need to catch up and succeed.   The mothers of our scholarship students are also back in class, their workshops structured around the topics they themselves choose to investigate.  These have included legal rights, nutrition, weaving, and more....most recently, soap making.

We dream......of eventually having an entire community center with enrichment activities for all ages:  music, theater, a community garden and a Montessori pre-school.    

Thank you for your support.   We and the Guatemalan community deeply appreciate it.

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Rock:  Photo credit Prensa Libre
Rock: Photo credit Prensa Libre

Guatemala Housing Alliance was forced to take an abrupt detour when Covid arrived in the communities we work in around Lago de Atitlan. Families were required to isolate and transportation halted, and along with it the possibility of building more homes and floors.   Our focus turned to those in immediate need, the food insecure.  Malnutrition rates have soared since Covid.    GHA has so far provided 1340 parcels of food, each to supplement the needs of a family of 4 for 2 weeks.

October 7th brought another batch of misery to the town of San Marcos La Laguna when a huge boulder rolled nearly a kilometer down the steep, rain-soaked side of the lake's caldera.    Four people died and many homes were destroyed.  200 families had to evacuate their homes for fear of more rocks dislodging.  Our team of Director Madai Yojcom and Social Worker Cecy Batz Bizarro, coordinated with other organazations and determined that GHA would take on the chore of replacing the wardrobes of people who fled with just the clothes they had been wearing.

So the work has changed with the reality of the times.   GHA continues to apply itself to the greatest need.

GHA distributing clothing in San Marcos
GHA distributing clothing in San Marcos
food distribution San Pedro
food distribution San Pedro
GHA sharing Covid era hygiene protocols
GHA sharing Covid era hygiene protocols

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Organization Information

Guatemala Housing Alliance

Location: Bow, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Nancy Wynne
Stonington, Maine United States
$13,590 raised of $13,500 goal
 
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