Simple one room homes, potable water, wooden beds and the most basic necessities continue to be provided to these poorest single-parent families in an attempt to improve the health and well-being of the most impoverished in the village. Our volunteers work tirelessly for four months per year to make this possible. The majority of our projects are supported by Rotary and by the sale of the scarves made by the women on backstrap looms. We work closely with the mayor and council to address the real needs of the community and personally visit every family on a regular basis. Two weaving coops have resulted from the program.
During the first four months of 2017, a continuous team of volunteers helped with the construction of homes for widows with young families. We purchased all of the galvanized water pipes for the town of San Antonio Palopo so desperately needed to bring water to the village homes. They have been without sufficient water for four years. Our volunteers built over sixty beds using local wood. Over the last four years, 240 beds have been constructed.
A weekly program of supplying nutritional supplements to 100 preschoolers has made a big difference in the growth and well-being of many children over the last twelve months. The Saturday program continues under the leadership of a qualified nurse and local volunteers providing courses in family planning, nutrition, and marketable crafts. Our initiative goal focuses on better health for those in extreme poverty.
As a result of our output, strong leadership among the Mayan women has emerged, children are healthier, and the mothers are enrolling their kids in school.
This project was first started by Jacqueline Mealing Sheppard over twenty years ago. The town has doubled in population since then and has minimal space to grow any food. It is best known for the work of the weavers and ceramics. Jacqueline began the woven scarf project 10 years ago which continues to be the sustainable means of supporting families, both for daily income and fundraising opportunities.
You can best support this project by purchasing scarves, volunteering or by sending donations to buy stoves. The stoves are then twinned with slow cooker miracle cushions saving fuel.