Why We Do This

Where we work

Our programs are located in Chuachún, which is a small indigenous village that belongs to the municipal town of Santa Apolonia, Chimaltenango. Santa Apolonia is located 95 kilometers (about 60 miles) away from Guatemala City (approximately 2 hours away by car) and is home of approximately 16,000 inhabitants spread into 38 villages in a territory of 60 square miles. Santa Apolonia used to be a part of the Tecpán territory from the Mayan Kakchiquel Kingdom in the pre-Columbian era. The Mayans were a great civilization that developed complex societies and had many accomplishments in art, writing, astronomy, engineering, architecture and math.

Where we work

Our programs are located in Chuachún, which is a small indigenous village that belongs to the municipal town of Santa Apolonia, Chimaltenango. Santa Apolonia is located 95 kilometers (about 60 miles) away from Guatemala City (approximately 2 hours away by car) and is home of approximately 16,000 inhabitants spread into 38 villages in a territory of 60 square miles. Santa Apolonia used to be a part of the Tecpán territory from the Mayan Kakchiquel Kingdom in the pre-Columbian era. The Mayans were a great civilization that developed complex societies and had many accomplishments in art, writing, astronomy, engineering, architecture and math.

A forgotten community

The people of Santa Apolonia are Mayan descendants that still preserve several elements of their rich ancient culture. They wear their traditional Mayan clothing, weave beautiful and meaningful textiles, cook delicious recipes that have been passed down from their ancestors, practice several Mayan customs and speak Kakchiquel as their mother tongue. However, since Guatemala was established as a Spanish colony, the Mayan population suffered a lot of discrimination and exploitation. Unfortunately, this situation did not change much when Guatemala became an independent country in the 1800s. Today, the indigenous people is still a marginalized community that has less access to justice, health and education services.

A forgotten community

The people of Santa Apolonia are Mayan descendants that still preserve several elements of their rich ancient culture. They wear their traditional Mayan clothing, weave beautiful and meaningful textiles, cook delicious recipes that have been passed down from their ancestors, practice several Mayan customs and speak Kakchiquel as their mother tongue. However, since Guatemala was established as a Spanish colony, the Mayan population suffered a lot of discrimination and exploitation. Unfortunately, this situation did not change much when Guatemala became an independent country in the 1800s. Today, the indigenous people is still a marginalized community that has less access to justice, health and education services.

Education is still a challenge

Quality education is not available to everyone in Guatemala. Most public schools only run up to 6th grade and many schools in rural villages are either overcrowded (40+ kids) or so understaffed that they have to share classrooms with multiple grade levels. That is the case of our children in Chuachún. The school in Chuachún has only two teachers for seven grades. One teacher works with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in the same classroom, while the other teacher works with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Less fortunate are the kindergarteners who don’t have a teacher and are only left with worksheets and occasional supervision from the teacher from the classroom next door. All this reflects the poor education level that people in rural areas have. In Chuachún alone, the average education level is 4th grade, and many people in this village still do not know how to read or write.

Education is still a challenge

Quality education is not available to everyone in Guatemala. Most public schools only run up to 6th grade and many schools in rural villages are either overcrowded (40+ kids) or so understaffed that they have to share classrooms with multiple grade levels. That is the case of our children in Chuachún. The school in Chuachún has only two teachers for seven grades. One teacher works with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in the same classroom, while the other teacher works with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Less fortunate are the kindergarteners who don’t have a teacher and are only left with worksheets and occasional supervision from the teacher from the classroom next door. All this reflects the poor education level that people in rural areas have. In Chuachún alone, the average education level is 4th grade, and many people in this village still do not know how to read or write.

Malnourished children in a nutritious land

Santa Apolonia is one of the most fertile lands in the country where many fruits, herbs and vegetables are grown and exported nation and worldwide. Despite being considered a very “prosperous” land foodwise, most of the people in Santa Apolonia either have poor eating habits or simply cannot afford to buy produce. According to the last report from the National System of Nutrition and Food Security, 69% of all children under 5 in Santa Apolonia suffer from chronic malnutrition, which makes it one the places with the highest rates of malnutrition in Guatemala. Malnutrition is a serious problem that affects the future of these children. Since they do not have a proper nutrition during the first years of their lives, their bodies and brains do not develop normally, which results in low academic performance and feelings of frustration in their learning. Therefore, they end up dropping out of school, and the cycle of malnutrition and poverty continues for another generation.

Malnourished children in a nutritious land

Santa Apolonia is one of the most fertile lands in the country where many fruits, herbs and vegetables are grown and exported nation and worldwide. Despite being considered a very “prosperous” land foodwise, most of the people in Santa Apolonia either have poor eating habits or simply cannot afford to buy produce. According to the last report from the National System of Nutrition and Food Security, 69% of all children under 5 in Santa Apolonia suffer from chronic malnutrition, which makes it one the places with the highest rates of malnutrition in Guatemala. Malnutrition is a serious problem that affects the future of these children. Since they do not have a proper nutrition during the first years of their lives, their bodies and brains do not develop normally, which results in low academic performance and feelings of frustration in their learning. Therefore, they end up dropping out of school, and the cycle of malnutrition and poverty continues for another generation.

We can do something

After seeing this we couldn’t stay indifferent to this reality and just observing how children’s lives kept falling apart. We believe that everyone deserves to live a happy life with dignity, and if there is something we can do to help others have a better life, why not do that. We are convinced that proper nutrition and quality education are the key to start changing the lives of these little angels. Our guiding philosophy is simple: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. We put into practice this principle by providing children nutritional support and quality education as a way to equip them with the tools they will need to live a more productive and purposeful life. One of our goals is to keep improving and expanding our programs to make a bigger and better impact, so if you would like to help us change lives, you are more than welcome to join us in this mission.

We can do something

After seeing this we couldn’t stay indifferent to this reality and just observing how children’s lives kept falling apart. We believe that everyone deserves to live a happy life with dignity, and if there is something we can do to help others have a better life, why not do that. We are convinced that proper nutrition and quality education are the key to start changing the lives of these little angels. Our guiding philosophy is simple: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. We put into practice this principle by providing children nutritional support and quality education as a way to equip them with the tools they will need to live a more productive and purposeful life. One of our goals is to keep improving and expanding our programs to make a bigger and better impact, so if you would like to help us change lives, you are more than welcome to join us in this mission.

Ways you can help

Ways you can Help