Partnering with people to alleviate poverty.
ViviendasLeón is expanding to Guatemala:
ViviendasLeón will launch a new travel and service program in Guatemala in January 2019. We have forged a partnership with two established organizations with 20 years of experience in the Lake Atitlán region, and have a team who will manage the program in country. Mil Milagros and Vivamos Mejor are like-minded organizations that have deep roots in the region which will allow us to work in rural communities on the basis of deep and trusting relationships.
Guatemala is a country marked by extraordinary contrasts of landscape, cultures, languages and economic development. We are locating our program in Lake Atitlán because of the large number of rural communities located there, who have struggled historically to thrive because of their isolation, their language and their non-western culture. For ViviendasLeon, these communities present an important challenge and opportunity for our philosophy of intensive and multi-faceted development. For educational travelers, the region represents a deep immersion in indigenous culture, language and history.
Our travel program will focus on service and cultural immersion:
We will offer the same elements that make our global education program so successful including homestays, cultural and language immersion, and authentic rural development projects. While the partnership is new, the shared mission and experience in development is not. The lake region is also home to a remarkable number of communities offering unique cultural experiences such as Santa Catarina Palopó, a lake town that has undertaken a project to paint all of its buildings in traditional colors and patterns of Mayan culture.
Our partner organization works on health and nutrition in rural communities:
Based in the town of Panajachel at Lake Atitlán, Mil Milagros works with communities to prevent malnutrition and hunger, and to improve children’s health and education in the region. Mil Milagros organizes committees of women leaders in each community, usually mothers and grandmothers. They train these leaders, and they, in turn, train their peers. Activities center around food and nutrition training, lunch preparation, and classroom health and hygiene curricula. ViviendasLeón will complement their program with projects to improve school kitchens, water, and sanitation infrastructure.
ViviendasLeón continues its innovative programs in Nicaragua:
Since the civil unrest began in Nicaragua in April 2018, we have been working with our León staff to understand events as they happen, and to be sure they are safe and able to continue their work. As of last June, the León staff has returned to work in the rural communities of Goyena and Troilo, even as a resolution of the issues that caused the large civil demonstrations may not occur anytime soon. As a result, we are implementing a strategic plan to expand to neighboring countries in Central America and offer our travel programs as we continue to work in Nicaragua.