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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Emergency Assistance, Human Services, International, International Development, Personal Social Services

Mission: As an accredited 501(c)(3) non-governmental organization, Mayan Families' mission is to facilitate sustainable development programs in impoverished communities throughout the Lake Atitlán region of rural Guatemala. Our objective is to stimulate long-term progress through school sponsorships, health initiatives, vocational training and microfinance, while providing emergency aid to those in critical need. Our organization operates on the principle that all people should have access to the basic necessities of life. We strive to accomplish our goals through working democratically with the communities we serve. Sign up for Our Newsletter and see how you can support us further: http://bit.ly/1beeo1p

Results: Mayan Families has supported 3,620 students in the past 10 years through our Student Sponsorship Program from the Preschool to University levels. We operate 7 Preschools year round that feed and educate malnourished children. Currently, our Education Program has 2,554 active students.Our Trade School has trained 364 people in different disciplines: 92 sewing students, 46 carpentry students, 221 computer students and 5 welding students. We have provided 344 Microloans to help impoverished Indigenous Mayan Women. 1,364 clients and families benefited from financial and nutritional support throughout 2014-15. This year we donated 425 Stoves, which reduce air pollution and help create a safer home environment. In 2015 alone, Mayan Families gave out 455 Water Filters, giving 3,315 indigenous families gained access to clean water. We have also held over 6 years of Clinics in the poorest communities in rural Guatemala. Our medical team has seen over 2,000 patients via mobile clinics in over 10 different communities, as well as over 1,000 patients in the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic. We have served a daily meal to 85 elderly, reducing the rate of disease and cutting down malnutrition. Mayan Families have had three sets of 25 women and their children pass through Well Mother Well Baby and see statistically significant improvement in their lives We have had 65 kids in critical need receive food aid and education. Please go to our website for more information on our programs and impact: www.mayanfamilies.org

Target demographics: Indigenous Mayan Guatemalans living in extreme poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of Guatemalan families living in extreme poverty

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: Mayan Families programs: Student Sponsorship, Preschool Nutrition Centers, Tutoring Program, Reproductive Health & Family Planning, Family Assistance, Community Development, Natural Building Workshops, Medical Program, Elderly Care, Income Generating Programs, Microloans Programs, Animal Welfare, Women Health and Children Aid.

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Mayan Families organization is an amazing non profit that is helping to better the lives of the indigenous people who live in the Lake Atitlan area. I recently went on a mission trip with a group from the Community Church of Poway. We chose to install stoves, purchase and deliver beds and water filtration systems, work in the preschool at San Jorge, and feed lunch to seniors also in San Jorge. We always felt safe as we had guides, drivers, and interpreters who were with us. The accommodation and food were great. Many in our group were so touched that we are supporting students and the elderly through the Mayan Families scholarship program. We are starting to plan our 2017 mission trip. The humble, kind, Mayan people are so deserving of this help.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a simply wonderful organisation. We have visited many times and remain deeply impressed at the professionalism and compassion we see each trip. The programs save and change lives for the better in a sustainable way. No praise properly captures our opinion of Mayan Families, the staff and the volunteers.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I spent an amazing week with Mayan Families seeing first hand the wonderful work they are doing in Guatemala. The educational, economic, health, and home programs they operate not only sustain, but are making a life changing and in many instances life saving difference in the lives of the Guatemalan people. Wonderful organization with the most amazing people involved!

Catherine30

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known Mayan Families a year after they started, when I came to Panajachel, at Lake Atitlan Guatemala, seven years ago. This was in 2006. I am simply amazed at the difference they have made in our small town, and every day you can see the huge difference they have made. There is no mistaking the changes that have taken place in the many villages around Lake Atitlan, all with the mark of Mayan Families. This is all due to the good-hearted, dedicated people that work with Mayan Families, the many volunteers, and the wonderful indigenous peoples that participate in the programs. I love living here now because of these changes, and I am so grateful that I can participate in them, too. Gratefulness on both sides counts!

The difference we see in the families, now with access to medical care, health & education, elder care, workshops, sewing and trade school programs, Mothers Day Baskets, Christmas baskets, Onil stoves, water filters, street dogs, street cleanup and recycling, micro-loans, savings accounts, women's empowerment, orphan care and more: just about anything that needs doing, Mayan Families has a hand in doing it.

It has grown from Sharon Smart & her husband Dwight working out of their own home to take in stray dogs and homeless children, to a very large group of fantastic volunteers and staff in Panajachel, where practically every cent goes to help so many. I think Mayan Families helped put more than 2,000 students through school. And they provide scholarships, shoes, books, supplies, pencils, paper, backpacks and more. No stone is left unturned to help these children who will be able to bring their families into the world of "reading and writing" and out of the third world suffering and poverty they have lived in for so long.

Education, Encouragement and Enabling are the key words here, and "enabling" in the best sense of the word, to help bring about a world that blends the indigenous culture with the modern challenges we all now face. It's a bridge here that people want to cross, and Mayan Families helps them do it.

Along with educational scholarships, I love the fact that they have started JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS that can be used here at home and are opening up international markets for the indigenous artisans around Lake Atitlan. The whole world is beginning to be at their fingertips, and it's a great doorway to "the other side." Along with the many medical missions and educational programs coordinated by Mayan Families, they are a hotbed of productivity & activity!

We need more people and groups in the world like Mayan Families... they are a role model for us all! I do all I can to help the good people at Mayan Families, and I hope you do too!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

January was my first time to Guatamela and the Mayan Families organization and I can't tell you how life changing this experience was. I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster the whole week I was there. My heart went out to the people of Panajachel after observing the struggles they encounter to just survive on a daily basis. I couldn't get over how organized and structured the Mayan Families were and the help and hope they give these wonderful people. It was so obvious how devoted this organization is to help the people help themselves.

I am now sponsoring a child and an elderly person and I know that every donation I give goes exactly where I want it to go. And for this I am so very thankful to the Mayan Families because without them this would not be possible. Like I said it was an emotional rollercoaster ride, but it was the best ride of my life and I will be definitely be back next January.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Support all our ancestors and tribes. Now it is easy to donate from you phone. Go to www.soloago.com from your iPhone/iPad and start donating to this and other Non-Profits

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I sponsor 2 children thru Mayan Families and often donate to other Guatemalan families as needs arise. I'm always impressed with the professionalism, compassion and dedication shown by the Mayan Families staff. Consistent, precise communication is offered to donors and friends of Mayan Families via email, listservs, blogs and websites. When floods destroyed their own home, staff members ignored their own needs and instead quickly relocated to help their neighbors and our sponsored students who were also affected. I recommend Mayan Families to my friends and coworkers who want to make charitable donations that truly make a difference in peoples' lives.

Review from Guidestar

Debbie W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

An amazing charity... we need more like them to help all the children in Guatemala!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently spent a month in Panajachel, Guatemala and visited Mayan Families. Dwight, the director, spoke with our small group about the work of Mayan Families. I was especially impressed by the 360 degree approach that this organization uses to address the poverty of the local Mayan population. Their efforts at fund raising is word of mouth and their gratitude for even the smallest of gifts was truly inspiring. Dwight enthusiastically commented that even a $25 gift from a friend of mine would make a huge difference in their work. Their initiative to support children in going to school is a critical aspect of their work . Educating the children is the only possibility of creating a future for them that isn't one of total poverty, and malnutrition.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love all the hard work Mayan Families does. I especially like how they keep someone like me informed of what is happening and how I can help