Refugee Housing in Chuk Muk: In 2005, Hurricane Stan damaged many regions of Guatemala. One community in particular was devastated by its fury: Panajachel in the state of Sololá. A mudslide one mile wide buried this town in debris 3 meters deep, killing 400 people in the middle of the night.
Survivors, many of whom were left widowed, disabled or destitute, were forced to live in a refugee camp established in a nearby floodplain—hardly an ideal location. B3 traveled to the town of Santiago to build safe homes for several affected families – part of a much larger sustainable housing project built in conjunction with USAID, the UN, and the government of Guatemala with additional help from generous foundations in Spain. As part of their commitment, residents provide a portion of the labor for their own and neighboring homes. Many victims were unable to provide the required “sweat equity,” so B3 students provided the labor to help these refugees find a new a home and hope for the future.
Educational Facilities in Quetzaltenango: Education and Hope is a foundation that strongly believes in the power of education to transform lives and end the cycle of poverty. The school’s founder, Julie Coyne (originally from Norwalk, CT!) has a big heart and even bigger dreams; she approaches education from a holistic perspective, incorporating health, hygiene, and nutrition in a program that serves students that attend her school. B3 worked to make the best use of Education and Hope’s facility by building classrooms, a library, additional restrooms and an art/music room on the third floor of one of its buildings. Visit them online at www.educationandhope.com
School for Deaf Children in San Marcos: In the town of San Marcos, over 300 hearing impaired students are in need of a specialized school. These students are underserved and ostracized in the local “traditional” school, but until recently had no other option to receive an education. In partnership with a local Rotary group, B3 helped build the first stage of a school to meet their needs. In its first year the new facility will serve 20 students between the ages of 7 and 20, and, upon its completion, the school will include six classrooms to reach-out to the hearing impaired population of San Marcos.
High School in San Andres: San Andres, a small town in northern Guatemala, was in dire need of a high school. Students who were old enough and qualified had to attend classes in the local elementary school’s “off” hours. In spite of these obstacles, 62 highly dedicated and motivated students graduated last year—an indication for the community’s need for a proper facility. Students from San Andres and from B3 worked side by side to build the first high school in the area. And for all the trials of high school life, our students saw the importance and value of making this experience available to others. The graduates of the San Andres high school will be trained and certified “primary school” teachers, broadening the impact and sustainability of this project. Additionally, there will be an emphasis on environmental studies, addressing the regional deforestation concerns. For more information and updates, visit www.volunteerpeten.org.
New Classroom and Building Repairs in Jocotenango: Located in a barrio outside of colonial Antigua, Los Patojos is a free after-school program that supplements Guatemala’s educational system with a comprehensive curriculum to develop the mind, body and spirit of underprivileged children. In addition to helping local youth, Los Patojos also works within its community, offering needed services to adults and families. B3 helped renovate its existing facility (which was once the co-founder, Juan Pablo Romero’s home!) by building an additional classroom, repairing their storm-ravaged roof, expanding their kitchen facility, and painting everything in site. For more information and updates about Los Patojos, visit them online at www.lospatojos.org