A major pillar of ICO’s work in San Antonio Palopó is responding to the needs of the community. Up until now, this has led us to place our emphasis on education – scholarships, a learning centre and library – and also on providing support for poor and elderly widows. Now, however, the overwhelming need for this small community is food security.
We continue to provide scholarships, and support The Casita, a community learning centre and library for learners. Scholarship students are studying online where possible, the Casita teachers continue to be paid and are providing distance-based instruction where possible. The Ancianas, the elderly women who up until now have come twice a week for lunch and activities, are now receiving bags of food delivered to their homes.
We are also working hard with a coalition of community leaders to provide food for the poorest families. To learn more, read on…
|Responding to COVID-19 in San Antonio
As of today, April 13, there are no confirmed cases of COVID 19 in the village, but it is just a matter of time. Guatemala is in lockdown, and people are being restricted to their own town and villages. There is very little usable land in the village, which is constructed on a steep hillside. People must buy their food at the market and prices are soaring as supplies dwindle. The main source of income is the creation of weavings and pottery (mostly sold to tourists). Now there are no tourists, so nobody is earning any money. These are people who live day by day, with no rainy day funds.
In this time of crisis, in order to combat the effects of COVID-19, we are now networking with a dedicated coalition of local volunteers, with input from the health centre and mayor’s office, to provide food to the poorest families. We plan to provide these families with corn – a staple in Guatemala – beans, and if possible additional protein. Food will be bought in bulk and distributed from a central warehouse. Local staff and volunteers are committed to maintaining Health Safety guidelines throughout this process.
We are all worried about the future and we know that this pandemic will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. We will keep you informed, and let you know how you can continue to assist this small, poor community pull through this crisis. While continuing to maintain, as much as possible, the programs in the Casita, we are also stressing food relief during this time. If you want your donation to be used specifically for food, please indicate this in the Comments box.