Impact Guatemala serves the community of La Pinada through a partnership with Senderos de Luz (Pathways of Light), which was founded by Hilmar and Carmen Avila in 2008 to address the needs they recognized in and around their own community.
Senderos de Luz operates a community centre in La Pinada that is a hub for social assistance programs, vocational training, and a feeding program for local children living in poverty. The building houses a sewing room, a woodworking shop, as well as a kitchen and dining hall. The ministry of Impact Guatemala also includes repairing homes, providing monthly grocery hampers to improve the living conditions of families in need, and covering tuition for a small number of children.
Senderos de Luz is blessed financially, relationally, and spiritually by its partnerships through Impact Guatemala.
Detailed Implementation Plan
Children’s Nutrition Program
Children’s nutrition is a central focus for Impact Guatemala. Using the measurements of children’s weight, height, and other statistics gathered in 2016, a concrete baseline has been created that captures the current state of child health. This baseline has helped determine that poor nutrition among La Pinada is very common; the main challenges are poor diet choices and not enough food. Children in La Pinada do not like vegetables and very rarely eat nutritious meals. It has been recognized that diets in the community contain too much sugar and sodium. In September 2017, Impact Guatemala will be meeting with Canadian nutritional experts to assess what some of the next steps in improving nutrition here could be.
Currently Impact Guatemala is helping Senderos de Luz to provide two nutritious hot meals a week to approximately 60 children and hold cooking classes. Cooking classes have been one of the nutritional education activities that have had a big impact in this community. These have been very popular among both the children and the parents, so much so that we are outgrowing our kitchen space already!
Weekly carpentry and sewing classes are held at the community centre for youth and women. The carpentry shop opened in January 2017 with the support of a talented Impact Team from Arkona, ON. This small but mighty team has helped to make a huge impact on the lives of the youth of La Pinada. There is also now a skilled teacher and many eager students who are learning this useful career skill!
Stories of Transformation
What started out as simply weekly lessons on sewing for women in the community has became a real way to help provide for their families. Through patience, diligence, and good teaching the women in this program have improved their skills and now have secured their first contract!
The contract was for 70 authentic Guatemalan fabric potholders. These holders are intricately made and are done in local designs and fabrics. The women enthusiastically filled the order and it has been shipped to the United States. Hopefully this first contract is one of many, and these women will experience long-term employment and the transformation in their lives that can follow!
In June 2017 Impact Guatemala spent time with Take Heart Missions and Senderos de Luz to map out the best way that our goals and values can work alongside each other. Take Heart Missions from North Carolina, USA is a new cooperative participant in the La Pinada community. Take Heart Missions will also be working side-by-side with Senderos de Luz and Impact Guatemala to bring transformational development projects into this community. Please pray that our partners Senderos de Luz will be able to expand their ministry through these new relationships they have formed.
The Program Champion for Impact Guatemala visited Guatemala this past June. It was a blessing for her to spend time with the teachers, the children and also to spend quality time with Hilmar, the Program Leader, and his family. This time in La Pinada provided great insight and helped to fuel future development programming ideas.
There will be an Impact Guatemala fundraising event (Extreme Road Trip Challenge) in Parkhill, ON scheduled for Fall 2017.
We have no Impact Teams scheduled to travel to Guatemala in the next six months, but we are looking forward to two Impact Teams scheduled to visit in March 2018 to support with the nutrition portion of the programming. We are always grateful for the help provided by Impact Teams and would love to host in 2017 or 2018. Two of our specific needs are:
- The support and guidance of a civil/building engineer to repair and reinforce the corner foundation of the community centre building. and construct a much-needed retaining wall in the courtyard
- Help with upgrading the kitchen at the community centre that is used for cooking and nutrition classes
|Total Income January-June 2017||$13,394|
|Total Expenses January-June 2017||$17,903|
|Overall 2017 Budget||$64,897|