Partners in Mission in Guatemala
St. Anne’s Partners in Mission in Guatemala was established in 1992. The location served by this mission is in the Mayan communities in the Chimaltenango region of Guatemala (about 2 hours NW of Guatemala City). The focus of the mission is on health, education and community empowerment:
• Scholarships and education support comprise 67% of the outreach funding.
• Health and training comprise 25% of the outreach funding
• Remaining funds cover infrastructure
• Special fundraising projects support other health & education initiatives, such as wood-burning stoves,
Read More About our Mission
The overall health of the villagers has dramatically improved during the life of this ministry. Child birth mortality has been nearly eradicated; there has been a dramatic decrease in cases of intestinal, respiratory, eye and throat infections; and hygiene and hygiene awareness have greatly improved.
Other past projects include; water system installation and inspection; dental care; community building construction; school construction; and renovation support. A recent addition to the mission is an instructor-led English course taught on Saturdays to village school children. The mission includes a “Home Team” for those members who cannot travel to Guatemala.
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The full story
Since 1992, St. Anne’s has been supporting Mayan communities in the highlands of Guatemala. This diverse outreach ministry provides
support to eight villages centered on the community of Chujulimul Primero (located at KM 114 on the Pan American highway, 2 hours from Guatemala City). This support has included scholarships, education infrastructure, health services and training, construction, and a variety of other short-duration projects. This mission work has improved the lives of many thousands of residents. The mission’s purpose is to partner with these communities, dealing with issues that they have identified as important to their future. We work toward helping them become self-sufficient with the goal that someday St. Anne’s may no longer be needed to support infrastructure development, but we will simply continue the relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our guiding light is the love of Jesus Christ and our desire to bring Christian ministry to our Mayan family in a country that has great needs.
Education: Scholarships and Infrastructure
Since the start of this mission, education has been a cornerstone of our effort to improve the lives of the Mayan people. This is a goal that the community originally identified in 1993 as one of the most important means of making their lives better. The program started by supporting adult education in several towns in the highlands; in 1999 the focus narrowed to the town of Chujulimul where we began supporting the local elementary school in lieu of adult education. The mission currently sponsors 80 to 100 elementary school children by providing them with required school materials and backpacks. Because public education in Guatemala stops at the 6th grade, we have instituted a scholarship program for junior high and high school students. There is a strong desire from the community to extend the scholarship program to a growing population of college-bound students and future fundraising initiatives will be considered for the extension of this support if and when able.
Read More About Education
Education: Scholarships and Infrastructure (cont’d)
The success of the scholarship program is measurable and profound! There have typically been 3-5 scholarship students who have graduated from high school each year since 2007. Before the scholarship program began there was only one high school graduate in the entire community of 2000+ residents. The local elementary school has now doubled in size, thanks in part to our support for the infrastructure, the teaching staff and the students.
Over the years, we have provided several local schools with text books and reading books and more recently with computers, printers and language-learning software programs. This effort continues as we help them to learn English in the classroom and upgrade the Chujulimul Primary School infrastructure.
In 2014, we began an extracurricular English language program at the request of young adults and secondary students in the community. The need for English speaking capability is now high on the list of priorities because it leads to jobs in the tourist parts of the country. The Guatemalan government now requires English as a subject for elementary school and beyond, but does not provide the teaching tools or guidance for this requirement. A local Guatemalan English instructor has been hired and is helping transform the community from a
dual language (Spanish and the Mayan language called Quiche) to a three-language neighborhood. St. Anne’s-donated computers and software have allowed students to practice English outside of the classes, which are held once per week.
Health was a major concern for the first St. Anne’s groups that went to Guatemala; those initial trips focused on medical teams that treated villagers in need. Those efforts concentrated on short term medical problems since there was no means for doing surgery or long-term care. This approach was subsequently modified; we now hire two local Guatemalan doctors from a nearby city to: (1) teach public health, first aid, and child birth procedures to the midwives in the community and to local health guardians and (2) conduct a yearly health clinic. The communities have no available doctor on site so they depend upon consulting by phone with the two Guatemalan doctors to deal with emergency situations. The impact of this effort has made the community one of the healthiest in the entire country of Guatemala. Mothers and babies are no longer dying at childbirth; respiratory, eye and intestinal ailments have dropped precipitously for all residents, and the general community health and hygiene have improved markedly.
Early construction projects included the addition of a schoolroom at Chujulimul elementary school and then the addition of a secure fence around the entire school complex. A community building, placed next to the elementary school, was built with St. Anne’s financial help several years ago to serve the community needs. Much of the labor for these projects came from volunteers in the community. Emergency funds were given to repair the local water system, which was badly damaged by a hurricane in 2005. St. Anne’s also helped with the construction of a new multiple-story school building. Since about 2012, St. Anne’s has been providing the funds to construct almost 700 block/brick wood burning stoves to replace on-the-ground fires using a ring of rocks. The impact on health and family life has been overwhelmingly positive. This multi-year stove project was completed in 2017. Starting in 2018 the next major health project will be the construction of latrines throughout the local communities. Watch here for more news as that project launches.
Traveling to Guatemala & Other Treasures
This program has been successful because of the parishioners of St. Anne’s who have contributed so much of their time, talents and treasure. We depend upon volunteers from our Parish and they have responded by contributing many dollars towards education, construction projects and health programs. Also many have traveled, in groups of 4-10, to Guatemala on our annual mission trips, or have been part of the all-important “home team” anchored in Annapolis and have helped with fundraising and planning portions of the program.
How Can You Help?
If this is a ministry that you feel you would like to serve as a volunteer you may contact us directly. Our current committee chairman is Mr. Kev Hays. He can be reached on the Internet at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 410-271-2939. If you would like to support our program financially there are two ways to accomplish that:
Option 1: Write a check or give cash
If you want to write a check, make it out to “Partners in Mission in Guatemala.” If you have a specific project or mission in mind for
your donation, please put it in the memo line. Otherwise your donation will go where most needed to support the mission work. If you give cash, please let us know who you are and include an address so that you can get a letter to use as proof of donation at tax time. Also, if there is a specific project you are donating to, put that on a sticky note or in the envelope with your cash donation.
Option 2: Give on-line
The full link is here. We are the fourth entry, “Sister Parish (Guatemala)”. The rest of the form is pretty self-explanatory.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR SUPPORT. THANKS!!!