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Your order, of any size helps raise funds for Mayan Families with at least 30% of the total order, before shipping going directly to Mayan Families!
Example: Your order of $100.00, before shipping, gets Mayan Families $30.00. Your order of $150.00, before shipping, gets Mayan Families $45.00
Please e-mail us at email@example.com with any questions.
Mayan Families History
Mayan Families was founded by Patricia Mort, Sharon Smart-Poage and Dwight Poage. They have been living and working with the Maya indigenous communities of the Atitlan region of Guatemala for over twenty years.
|Patti, a mother of two and a grandmother to five, has lived in Panajachel for the past 22 years. She is a well-known member of the community and a successful businesswoman. Her business, Casa Alegre, has been in operation for 20 years. A devoted animal lover, Patti lives with her 2 dogs and 4 cats, all rescued animals.
|Sharon, originally from Australia, met her husband Dwight in Guatemala. Together they lived in Panajachel from 1987-1995, where they worked with indigenous co-operatives, manufacturing and exporting clothing, textiles and handicrafts.
After adopting their daughter Zoe, Sharon and Dwight moved back to the United States but kept their close ties to the indigenous community through school sponsorship and frequent visits. In 2004, Sharon and Zoe moved back to Guatemala and adopted their second daughter, Aleeya. Sharon, Zoe and Aleeya shared their home with numerous rescued dogs and a cat.
|Due to career commitments, Dwight remained in San Diego to help raise funds and manage many Mayan Families business affairs. In August 2009, Dwight moved permanently to Guatemala to be with his family and continue the great work of Mayan Families.|
We began is a small way in 2004. In 2005 hurricane Stan attacked the Lake Atitlan region and the effects were enormous. Many lives and homes were destroyed. Countless people survived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Because of the overwhelming devastation, Sharon, Patti, and Dwight decided to formalize their personal commitments and thus Mayan Families was formed. After Hurricane Stan, there existed a massive amount of need within Panajachel and other indigenous communities surrounding the lake area. Both Sharon and Patti were committed to seeking solutions. They embarked upon fundraisers seeking support from the local regions and other countries, as well. Donations began coming in and eventually they were able to hire a small staff of indigenous locals to help. In 2006 they met Bonnie who initiated and continues to moderate the Mayan Families Connections Yahoo group, an information web site for a growing community of donors and sponsors.
Many other enthusiastic people also started actively helping Mayan Families. Needed skills and energetic support came together and grew to help impoverished people get a hand up, and help them to develop their communities and villages. June 2007, Mayan Families acquired its Official 501.c.3 Declaration from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Mayan Families is now a formally recognized non-profit organization, which provides assistance and opportunities to people in need through nutrition, education, health, construction, and other valuable services.
Mayan Families' staff is over 80% indigenous.
The staff's main responsibilities include:
Connect donors and programs
Maintain program records
Provide technical services
Translate between English/Spanish/indigenous languages
Manage special events
Mayan Families is an organization made up of 45 hard working talented individuals who participate in a variety of roles and responsibilities. From the youngest to the oldest employee, from social work to preparing volunteer lunches, all employees are valued and an integral part of what is achieved daily at Mayan Families, Panajachel.
Over the past years we have had received many visitors and volunteers who may fondly remember Berta's famous Caldo (vegetable and beef soup), perhaps may have spent the day or two with Julio and Juan in small mountainous villages installing stoves, or participated in the very hectic period before Christmas busily packing Christmas baskets with Glendy, Letti and Gloria to help make Christmas easier for impoverished families. At Mayan Families we recognize the contributions of all of our team members and for this reason we have created a Picasa photo album dedicated to their faces and smiles. To meet our hard working and dedicated team href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mayanfamilies/MayanFamiliesStaff#">click here.
Thanks to donations from individuals like you, we have made great progress in the fight against poverty, despair, malnutrition and hopelessness in the last few years and here in 2010 – but there is much more work to be done. As our 2010 Fundraising continues, I'm proud to share with you the fact that the significant majority of our donations comes from individual donors – and ask that you consider giving a $25 gift now to help us continue our lifesaving work. We count on the $10 and $25 donations to continue the desperately needed programs of Mayan Families.
Accomplishments 2004 - 2010
These items listed below are just a few examples.
Education Programs School Scholarships
In 2008 Mayan Families assisted over 800 students to access primary/secondary and post secondary education, and in 2009 we had over one thousand eager students sponsored. In 2010 we are at over 1,360 students sponsored to go to school, in 2011 we hope to be over 1.600!
Microcredit Loan Project
Numerous Microfinance packages distributed enabling many indigenous women and their families the opportunity to develop local home based businesses.
The Panajachel Sewing Project
Adult female students have completed the Mayan Families 3 month Sewing Skills Course. Many of these students have developed home based businesses with their new skills.
Hope for the Animals Project Dogs and Cats Spayed and Nuetered! Countless animals given emergency Veterinary treatment and assistance.
Mayan Families have facilitated the construction and improvement of a dozen classrooms in rural impoverished villages to create a better learning environment. Community Centers: Mayan families have lead and facilitated the construction of 3 rural community centers. In 2010 these community centers will house various Mayan Families Programs - such as sewing classes for women, after school program, medical and veterinary clinics, early learning center, feeding program, adult education, and library and internet access.
The Fuel Efficient Stove Project
Thousands of stoves distributed in Panajachel & Lake Atitlan area enabling approximately 8,000 adults and children to live in safe smokeless houses.
The Water Filter Project with Rotary
Thousands of water filters distributed throughout the Highlands of Guatemala including the Pacific Coastal areas providing tens of thousands of children, families, schools, medical ceters, hospitals and more with clean drinking water.
This is only a very small - partial list of the numerous major accomplishments of Mayan Families over the years.
Continued development of the Student Sponsorship program, assisting the impoverished through support with education costs and resources necessary to attend school with a special focus on empowering those most disadvantaged or at risk: female students and single parent families.
Develop community empowerment programs within the San Jorge Community Centre.
Planned programs – after hours school support, quarterly medical clinics, a computer skills program and health and nutrition education.
Protect and preserve the local ecosystem.
Environmental education and awareness through further distribution of Sustainable Fuel Efficient Stoves, Rotary Water filters. Continue to host and facilitate visiting Medical teams, specialized Surgical teams, Dental teams and Veterinary teams enabling access to health education and treatment. Construction of local village Community Centers, Schools and basic Homes to support and strengthen the Indigenous communities.
Grow our Computer labs to include more villages and training classes. Assist over 1,400 students to be able to get an education this school year.
Animal Welfare Program - Hope for the Animals to Spay and Neuter hundreds, possibly thousands of animals this year. Grow our Vet Student Program with the University in Guatemala City.
Continue to grow the Mayan Families Micro Finance - Micro Loans Program and help Woman build and grow their own small businesses.