Pahaj celebrates the completion of six new bathrooms!
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Mil Milagros expands partnership with Wuqu’ Kowoq to prevent onset of childhood malnutrition!
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Mothers attend their First Conference!
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The Most Beautiful Wall in Pahaj!
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The Rainy Season has well and truly arrived!
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Check out our brand-new Mil Milagros blog, authored by our very own Francesca Wade!
Now you can keep abreast of all the activities and events going on in our partner communities with just a click of the mouse!
Click here to sign in and follow our blog using either your Google, Yahoo, Twitter, AIM, Netlog, or OpenID account. If you don’t have any of those accounts, just add the blog site to your web browser’s favorites.
Honor a mother in your life this Mother’s Day by helping the mothers and grandmothers of Mil Milagros!
50% of the children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition – the 4th highest rate in the world – and 80% of the country’s Mayan children are chronically malnourished. Every day, the mothers and grandmothers of these children worry about how they are going to feed them.
That’s where Mil Milagros comes in. Mil Milagros partners with mothers and grandmothers and schools in Mayan communities in Guatemala to ensure that the children are nourished, healthy, and graduate from primary school. (Today only 30% of children complete primary school.) Mil Milagros brings these women together to improve the lives of their children and families. In 2011, Mil Milagros will provide more than 150 mothers and grandmothers with the training, confidence and resources necessary to feed nearly 1,000 children in five communities.
“The best help for my children comes from Mil Milagros because the program is giving my children what I cannot provide for them.”
HONOR A MOTHER IN YOUR LIFE THIS MOTHERS DAY BY MAKING A DONATION TO MIL MILAGROS. HELP THE MIL MILAGROS MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS TO FEED THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.
Every dollar makes a difference!
$500 supports 8 nutrition workshops for 50 mothers for one year
$220 feeds one child for an entire school year
$120 feeds one child for 100 days
VISIT OUR “DONATE NOW” page to make a secure donation through Paypal. Or send a check to:
Mil Milagros, Inc.
400 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110
Send a follow up email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the contact information for your honoree. We will send the mother in your life a note notifying her of your gift.
On behalf of all of the mothers and grandmothers of Mil Milagros, thank you!
PBS to air two stories on Guatemala in March
On March 7th and 8th, the global health unit of PBS will broadcast two stories from Guatemala on NewsHour, focusing on family planning, maternal health, and violence against women.
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We hope that you will tune in to PBS on March 7th and 8th!
Over 2000 Guatemalan children died of hunger in 2010
According to a report presented Friday by the national Ombudsman office, more than 2,000 children under 5 died in Guatemala during the first 10 months of 2010 as a consequence of illnesses caused by malnutrition.
The report is based on statistics from the Epidemiology Center of the Public Health Ministry covering the period from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2010.
“It’s worrying that mortality from hunger is double that of deaths from violence. Thousands of children are estimated to be at risk and there is no sufficient effort being made to save them from this grave situation,” Ombudsman Sergio Morales told the media.
The report also noted that eighty-four percent of the children died at home, without any kind of medical care and that most of the deaths were due to respiratory infections and diarrhea, ailments caused by high levels of malnutrition.
Ministry figures show that one in every two Guatemalan children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, as a consequence of the poverty and extreme poverty in which more than 52 percent of the country’s 14.4 million inhabitants live.
Most of the children who died were concentrated in provinces that make up Guatemala’s “dry corridor,” a strip that runs through the country from east to northeast, which during the last two years has suffered intense droughts blamed on climate change.
Partner organization to be featured in series entitled “Be the Change: Save a Life”
Earlier this year, Mil Milagros established a partnership with Dr. Rohloff and Wuqu’ Kawoq to provide much needed basic health services to the children of Chutinamit, our smallest partner community which was displaced by Tropical Storm Agatha and the ensuing mudslides. We are currently in discussions with Wuqu’ Kawoq to expand our partnership to serve more Mil Milagros children in 2012.
On Friday, December 17, 2010, ABC’s 20/20 will feature Wuqu’ Kawoq. This segment is a part of the network’s new yearlong series, “Be the Change: Save a Life,” bringing attention to the health conditions of the world’s poorest people. The series begins this month and continues throughout 2011, spanning every ABC News program and platform. ABC’s anchor Diane Sawyer and medical news editor Dr. Richard Besser will lead the series, which is funded in part by .5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In November 2010, an ABC camera crew filmed WK team members as they worked at the clinic in Paya’, near San Juan Comalapa. Drs. Jane Striegal and Ty Melvin were filmed consulting with patients, along with interpreters WK Medical Director Dr. Peter Rohloff and Emily Tummons. A reporter conducted extensive interviews with Rohloff and interviewed Paya’ community leaders as well.
We hope you can watch on December 17!
November trip to Guatemala is productive and informative
Mil Milagros Founder and President Margaret Blood, Vice Chair and Treasurer Carolyn Lyons, and intern Alyxe Lett, recently returned from a very productive trip to Guatemala. Highlights included visits with each of the four partner schools, an “Encuentro” (meeting) of parent, teacher, and student representatives from each school, and a graduation ceremony at Proyecto Semilla, the school for child workers where Mil Milagros first began as a pilot feeding program in 2006. Also, Mil Milagros Board member Jill Takacs and her church, the United Church in Walpole, collected warm fleeces for each of the 40 children in Chutinamit–the community displaced earlier this year by Tropical Storm Agatha–which were distributed during the visit.
Perhaps the most important event of the trip was the “Encuentro,” the annual conference in which teachers, parents, and student leaders from each school gather to reflect on past year’s achievements in nutrition, health, hygiene and education. This year, approximately 52 participants filled the small conference room of Hotel Kakchiquel November 12 and 13. The first day was dedicated to a group discussion session reflecting on the year’s achievements, lessons learned and ongoing challenges. Each school was grouped together (the mothers and teachers together, the students in their own separate groups) during the brainstorming period and later the larger group came back together in order to hear the presentation of the other groups. Later than night, each school presented a song or traditional dance to share with the larger group during the Cultural Night. The Boston-based staff, wholly unprepared for this, danced a lively rendition of “The Macarena” with program coordinator, Jose Aguilar, providing the vocal back-up.
Day two of the Encuentro was dedicated to another session of breakout groups, this time with the teachers receiving a workshop on how to identify and work with students with learning disabilities. Meanwhile, the mothers practiced their embroidery skills and shared their personal experiences with the Mil Milagros program in their own separate group session. The children, also in their own separate groups, created colorful balloon-shaped posters highlighting their dreams and desires for the coming years. At the end of the day, all the groups shared their proposals for ensuring the sustainability of Mil Milagros, several of which included ideas like implementing micro-enterprise and small productive projects for the mothers, school gardens, water filtration systems, improved teacher training, regular dental and medical visits, computers and computer classes, and more alliances with other institutions, among other things. Margaret Blood has plans to return to Guatemala in early 2011 with the hopes of beginning to work out a plan with each school in order to start implementing some of these proposals for sustainability.
Click here to to read the original song that El Mesias performed during the Cultural Night.
Mil Milagros Launches Inaugural Fall Fundraising Event
On Wednesday, October 27 approximately 80 people attended the first ever Mil Milagros Fall Fundraising Event which was held in the lobby of the Goulston & Storrs law offices on Atlantic Avenue in Boston. Among the night’s attendees were several members of the Mil Milagros board including Tom O’Brien, Rob Meyer, Jill Takacs, Carolyn Lyons and Margaret Blood and some of their friends and family. Also present were several colleagues from Goulston & Storrs as well as individuals from other non-profits and foundations, and the much-anticipated appearance of State Representative Charley Murphy.
The evening began with informal conversation over light appetizers and the sale of Mil Milagros jewelry, hand-made apparel, and coffee from partner organization Cafecito Milagro. Later in the evening, Board member Tom O’Brien gave a more formal welcome to the guests and Mil Milagros Founder and President gave a brief PowerPoint presentation telling the history of Mil Milagros, the program’s achievements to date, and a discussion of the organization’s goals and vision for the next few years.
As a result of such a successful evening, Mil Milagros was able to raise over $75,000 dollars, significantly exceeding the proposed target of $60,000. The Mil Milagros Boston team would like to thank all those who helped contribute to the success of the event, including all those who were able to attend and, in particular, the members of the Board and Event Committee for their incredible leadership and hard-work in the fundraising efforts. We look forward to having their ongoing support and commitment in the future and for another successful Fall Fundraiser next year!! Mil gracias!
Hillary Clinton Campaigns Against Child Malnutrition
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday September 21 joined in launching an initiative aimed at reducing malnutrition in pregnant women and young children, which claims some 3.5 million deaths every year.
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Guatemalan tax regime must change to help the nation’s most disadvantaged families
Even though it is classified by the World Bank as a middle income country, the level of inequality in Guatemala is such that almost half its children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is the fifth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, higher even than that in Haiti, which is by far the poorest country in the Americas. This state of affairs is no accident. It is a direct result of the extremely regressive tax regime in Guatemala and many other Latin American countries. The poorest pay a far higher proportion of their income on the equivalent of VAT and other indirect taxes, whilst the business elite enjoy a very generous regime of tax incentives. As a result, one in 20 Guatemalan children does not reach the age of five due to infectious and diarrheal diseases that are easily preventable and treatable. Two-thirds of the country’s children do not complete primary school on time and illiteracy levels are closer to the average for sub-Saharan Africa than to that for Latin America.
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Help! Guatemalan children and families in dire need!
The eruption of Pacayo volcano Thursday night coupled with Tropical Storm Agatha over the weekend have left 123 dead, at least 90 people missing and thousands displaced. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a 15 day state of calamity. Mil Milagros Program Coordinator, Jose Aguilar, has informed us that two of our four partner schools served by Mil Milagros have been closed. In Panajanchel, mudslides and the overflowing river have destroyed the main bridge, roads and houses. Travel to and from the city is nearly impossible. Over 90 families (400-500 residents) have been evacuated to emergency shelters in Pana. In Chutinamit, the families who have not fled are seeking shelter at the school. Our nutrition and cooking instructor, Ana Vivar, has been evacuated from her home due to the mudslides. Despite these disasters, both the Semilla and Chutinamit schools are continuing to provide meals for the children and have expanded to serve the children’s families and other community members in need. Jose has requested emergency funds for basic necessities such as food, water, diapers, and soap to help serve the evacuated families. Please help the children and their families by donating to Mil Milagros and increasing awareness of this catastrophe. Click here to make a donation and visit cnn.com to learn more about the effects of the volcano and hurricane.
Margaret Blood, Carolyn Lyons and Jaime Albarelli, the Mil Milagros team in Boston
Boston Globe: An advocate for children exports to Guatemala
Margaret Blood went to Guatemala for a much-needed vacation, but she couldn’t help herself. Blood, 52, is a longtime early-education crusader whose Boston-based nonprofit, Strategies for Children, keeps her in compulsive work mode throughout the year. After an especially tiring stretch in 2003, she joined a friend from her Boston church for a weeklong break in the Mayan highlands.
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Children of Mil Milagros submit artwork for contest
And the entrants include:
Mil Milagros Board member Jill Takacs comments on her trip to Guatemala
I am a Mil Milagros board member and a mom of three boys born in Guatemala. A month ago, my oldest son, Jake, and I had the privilege of visiting the four schools currently in the Mil Milagros family and one school we hope to support soon. It was a whirlwind two days of boat rides, pickup trucks and winding mountain roads that left Jake and I with a lifetime of memories and a connection to the teachers, moms and children we met.
Chutinamit is our smallest school with 30 children in two classrooms. Since it was the first visit, I wasn’t sure how Jake would react to the experience. We’ve talked about the schools and their limited resources, but knowing about poverty is different from seeing it first hand. Would the differences between him and the children he met be upsetting to him? Would he stand quietly next to me, as he sometimes does in new situations? I needn’t have worried.I have two wonderful memories of Chutinamit. One is sitting next to the play area, chatting with Margaret and two of the moms as we watched the kids play soccer. As would happen many times over the next few days, one mom was thanking me for bringing the books and school supplies and for the support the school receives from Mil Milagros. Right in front of us, my son was laughing and running around with kids he had met only minutes before and over the wall of the playground, were the beautiful mountains of his birthcountry. A few minutes later we headed inside to hand out the books we had brought. I listened as two girls from the older class read “Goodnight Moon” to me and to a few of the younger girls. At one point, I looked out the classroom door and there is Jake, sitting on a step with a young girl, showing her pictures from our camera and offering to let her take some pictures too. I knew then that for the rest of our time in the schools, Jake would see the hardships that the kids in his birthcountry lived with every day but what he would remember is that in most ways, they are just like him…they love a good game of soccer.
After a wonderful time at Chutinamit, we traveled down the mountain a few miles to Xecotoj. This is a community comprised of families who were displaced by the mudslides during Hurricane Stan in October of 2005. Homes for the families have been constructed but the community did not have a school, so the famil…ies got together and built one out of tin and chicken wire. Recently, outhouses were installed, but there is no running water orworking kitchen. Mil Milagros would love to begin a lunch program there someday when funds are available and when a kitchen can be added. Right now, we provide donated school supplies, books, toothbrushes and toys whenever we can.
Given the limited resources in Xecotoj, I thought this would be a difficult visit. Instead, we met smiling children and enthusiastic teachers. We could tell by looking around the classrooms and by watching the interactions between the kids and their teachers, that learning is taking place here.
In the younger class, we gave each child a hand-knitted doll. At one point, we realized that despite counting to make sure we had enough for each student, we were short one doll. The teacher, Jacqueline, discovered that one child had put a doll in her backpack to bring home to her younger sibling. Margaret te