This year, ViviendasLeón is launching a new travel and service program in Guatemala, serving family and school groups. We have forged a partnership with Mil Milagros an established organization with 20 years of experience in the Lake Atitlán region, and have a new team who will direct the program in country. The program will include homestays, cultural immersion and service projects for an in depth introduction to Mayan culture and innovative community development in Guatemala.
Our travel program focuses 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. By partnering with Mil Milagros we can mirror our León program with established and trusting community relationships. 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 it’s buildings in traditional colors and patterns of Mayan culture.
Our partner organization brings expertise in health and nutrition:
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 it’s innovative programs in Nicaragua:
Since national demonstrations began in Nicaragua in April, we have been working with our León staff and board of directors to understand the impact of the very dynamic events and how they might affect our work and programs in León, Nicaragua. As of last June, our León staff has returned to work in the rural communities of Goyena and Troilo, even as a resolution of the issues that caused the 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 work in Nicaragua.