Rural Kitchen Program, Guatemala
ViviendasLeon has a long history of natural building construction in Nicaragua. Our partnership with Mil Milagros and Vivamos Mejor will be the centerpiece of the work we will be doing in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala in 2019-20. We will support and complement their work by building school kitchens and classrooms, among a number of other projects we are currently exploring with them.
Mil Milagros equips mothers and teachers with skills and resources to improve the lives of children and families in rural Guatemala. They work with mothers, grandmothers and teachers to implement and sustain health, nutrition and hygiene improvements in rural communities. Vivamos Mejor is a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life of rural communities, mainly in the Altiplano of Guatemala through the promotion of sustainable development and community self-management.
Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in the world – and the highest rate in Latin America and the Caribbean – with 50% of the children chronically malnourished.
The rate of chronic malnutrition among Maya children in rural communities is 72.3%.
Guatemala also has the highest birthrate in Latin America with nearly three births per woman.
In the department of Sololá, 96% of the population is Maya and 94% of the population lives on less than $3.00 per day.
Mil Milagros partners with communities to prevent malnutrition and hunger and to improve children’s health and education in the region. They are working in multiple Mayan communities near the lake in the municipality of Santa Lucía Utatlán.
Mothers and grandmothers are the key to Mil Milagros’ success. Mil Milagros works with their partner schools to organize Boards of Mother and Grandmother leaders in each community. They train these leaders, and they, in turn, train their peers. The mothers and grandmothers take turns preparing nourishing meals each school day and also help with hygiene interventions including the application of fluoride varnish and lice shampoo. The children bring their own dishes and utensils to school, along with firewood for the stoves.