September 30, 2022

WRITTEN BY | Gerry Beltgens

The Rotary Club of Puget Sound Designers Passport stepped up with a $500 donation towards a load of Nutritional Supplements and education support for Segundo Cruz, an impoverished village in Guatemala. AEC Access to Education Collaborative will match this with another $500.00.

They have teamed up with Gerry Beltgens (Access to Education Collaborative, Rotary Club of Ladysmith) and Ricardo Romero (Rotary Club of Vista Hermosa Satellite Uwara) to purchase and deliver 500 lbs to the community. We also want to thank local coordinator Corina Arana and her sister Milly for their ongoing support and community connections.

We will continue to raise money for nutritional supplements to reach more children and nursing mothers. 500 pounds will support 18 severely malnourished children for six months. The local health services will oversee the distribution and identifying these children.

Over 50% of children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition – UNICEF.

… a Guatemalan family of five needs $417.38 (around 3,234.62 quetzales) per month to purchase the 34 products needed to consume the recommended 2,500 calories, according to the INE’s May report. – This is impossible in a country where the average wage in rural areas is well under $400 per month.

Malnourishment is increasing in Guatemala as food prices rise. Guatemala already has the highest food prices in Central America. These increases are affecting the poor and malnourished Indigenous and rural communities the most. Adding to the problem is the increased cost of Incaparina (from Q7.50 per bag to as much as Q12.00). This nutritional supplement is an essential staple in many poor households that cannot afford healthy food. Malnutrition stunts growth, impairs mental and physical health and creates difficulty in participating and learning in school.

We are encouraging teachers and community workers to provide Incaparina to nursing mothers, preschool children, and obviously malnourished children coming to school.

In the past two years, we have provided over 3,000 lbs of Incaparina to Solola and Lake Atitlan centers. The focus of this drive is Segundo Cruz, an impoverished, remote village near Antigua. We have established ties with teachers and health services in this community and will be working with the community support group, school, and local clinic. Children will be tracked to determine the effectiveness of the program. The Incaparina will be distributed starting in October 2022.

This year, Access to Education Collaborative funded two RACHEL Digital Libraries, computers, and training for local teachers in Segundo Cruz and nearby Pastores. AEC also provided two computers for the local Health Clinic.

Along with the Incaparina distribution, the families will have access to courses on nutrition and nutritious cooking. Mayan culture has a history of growing and using highly nutritional natural supplements with a regular diet of corn tortillas and beans. Those skills are lost in many communities, but it is possible using the learning centres to spread that knowledge again.

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