Guatemala Update

Spring 2015 InGear

San Jose Artesanas

There is a small town in Cimaltenango, a department of Guatemala, where a group of 17 housewives and mothers have changed their fortunes. San José Poaquil is an isolated area and the residents of this municipality have little opportunity for economic and educational improvement. Still, one particular woman named Marta had the initiative to work for change. Under her guidance, the local women learned the craft of sewing and began to create and market blouses that are typical of their region.

San Jose Poaquil, Guatemala

San Jose Poaquil, Guatemala

They began with only one sewing machine to share among them. The success of the sales of these blouses enabled them to save enough so that they, through FIDESMA and P4P, could acquire more machines. Each blouse brings in about Q50.00 or Q100.00 (Guatemalan Quetzals), which is enough to improve their ability to get better food and other important resources for their families, which consist of anywhere from 3 to 9 children. Access to these sewing machines will eventually lead to long-term opportunities as these women continue to establish themselves as artists and businesswomen.

Abner Ottoniel Siquinajay Popol

Abner on his bicycle

Abner on his bicycle

Abner has a small family since his father abandoned them when he was only eight months old and his older brother was two years old. The child’s mother, whose name is Reyna Elizabeth Siquinajay, works in a tortilla company, where she earns very little and not enough to pay for the education of her children. Therefore Abner has worked as a shoeshine boy since he was 7 years old. He works during the evenings in the park and in the different houses of the village. Abner received the donation of a BMX bike from the FIDESMA Foundation to increase his mobility so that he could complete more work in his evenings. With support from Pedal for Progress, FIDESMA has received 15 containers of bicycles, parts, and sewing machines for sale since 1999. Most of the bicycles and sewing machines are sold at low cost; however occasionally for cases like Abner’s the bicycle is donated. It is a special case of a child working in the evenings to pay for school in the morning at the National Urban Mixed School September 15. It is admirable that a human being at such a young age can take responsibility and desire to excel as this boy of just 12 years, whose dream is to some day graduate Master of Primary Education.

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