People for Guatemala exceeded my expectations! The organization I volunteer with partners with PFG during the summer. I have never come in contact with a local organization as sustainable and well organized as People for Guatemala. The founders and staff are incredibly tuned in to the needs of the local communities in the San Martin area. I cannot sing enough praises to this organization for making our experience genuine, special, and extraordinary.
People for Guatemala is an incredibly well-run non-profit. Their focus is centered on community involvement and ownership to assess and define problems and actively participate in developing and implementing creative solutions. Members from surrounding communities come to People for Guatemala for project support after they have done their groundwork. This approach leads to communities being personally invested from a grass roots level and thus promotes capacity building and deep project sustainability. People for Guatemala’s approach helps to minimize outside bias and personal agendas from outsiders dictating the community projects.
The staff in Guatemala is from Guatemala. The staff’s knowledge of the country, its history, and its barriers leads to deepened compassion as well as creative problem solving. Their projects include: running a clinic in San Martin (an under-resourced community where the large majority are living at or below poverty) that offers medical, dental, psychological and pharmacy services, constructing community centers, school kitchens, stove installations with efficient externally vented stoves designed by one of their employees, community water projects, educational opportunities for children and adults, and more. Groups from other countries also come to help participate in project activities. The running of the projects is well organized and people who come leave with a sense of meaningful contribution to the country. The project impact and collaborative efforts, including working with other NGO’s, are first rate!
People for Guatemala
I have been working with People for Guatemala for several years. I have personally been involved with projects where we built 3 school kitchens in Pacjo Tres Cruses, Cruz Nueva and San Jose de Las Roses; a medical clinic in Candeleria; installed Chapina Stoves; provided laptops for their teacher training program and provided medical care to local villagers as well.
People for Guatemala is the most professional and efficient mission group I have ever been involved with. Their model of receiving a request from a village, pre-planning, on site management and follow up is the key to their great success. Their focus to work in San Martin, Jilotepeque allows them to build close relationships with surrounding communities to build a synergy that continues when the project(s) are complete. Their partnership with Hombres y Mujeres en Accion creates a level of trust and confidence with the villages/villagers that allows the on-site work to go smoothly and allows us to build a relationship while we are there. I always tell my friends, “We do it with them, not for them”
Although I have only been a small part of the equation, if you look at the total impact People for Guatemala has made from 2010-2015, I believe you will agree with me when I say, “They have literally changed the trajectory of a generation of Mayas by providing them with the tools to break the vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition while at the same time providing a pathway for a better life through education.”
Jack L. Coleman
Lois &Ken Werner/People for Guatemala are "the real deal." I have been going on mission trips for many years with several different types of groups; educational, medical, construction and I am totally sold on People for Guatemala. They have focused on San Martin, built a strong team and developed a vision that has brought so many diverse groups to Guatemala to work with the villagers. This model helps develop "their" needs to improve the lives of the children and villagers. So many groups come into a region and do what they feel is needed then go home.
Lois & Ken Werner/People for Guatemala have developed programs based on the needs of the people and require participation thus developing a true partnership and helps develop a pride in the village that will last for a lifetime. I have personally been involved with a school kitchen in Pacoj Tres Cruses; medical clinic in Candeleria and am anxiously awaiting going to Curz Nueva on November 8th to build another school kitchen. The work site is prepared by villagers. The building has been engineered. The material is on site. There are men, women and children that are so excited, so willing to help, but most importantly so humble/thankful for the improvements to their village.
People for Guatemala exemplifies the old proverb, "Give someone a fish you feed them for a meal; teach them to fish and you feed them for a lifetime" then goes one step further and leaves the fishing pole!
People for Guatemala is truly changing San Martin one project at a time; one village at a time!!
I have been privileged to work with People For Guatemala for the past two years. I have brought a total of over fifty nurse practitioner and graduate nursing students and nursing professors from Florida Atlantic University for a cultural immersion in primary care in this region of Guatemala. Through the seriously hard-working efforts of the entire staff of PFG we have been able to assess and treat over a thousand patients on each trip. The trusting relationship that Ken and Lois and their staff have established with these underserved communities has been our "gateway" into the lives of the indigenous Maya population. It would have taken us years to build that relationship on our own. We are deeply indebted to PFG for their passion for bringing access to health care and education to these communities. I hope to spend the rest of my life helping them. All of my students state that they are "forever changed."
Our foundation Nursing Heart Inc is a proud associate of People for Guatemala. Without them, the nurses and doctors who come to Guatemala could not bring their care. People for Guatemala and their sister organization, Hombres y Mujeres en Accion do the development for the projects that we carry out in Guatemala. I cannot thank them enough for the kind of assistance that they have provided our organization by preparing the communities that receive our care. They are FIVE stars!
I have worked with People for Guatemala for four years now. I continue to grow in respect for their integrity and care for the people of Guatemala. I have experienced the transformation they are bringing about in the communities of San Martin Jilotepeque. Groups that I have pulled together have worked in projects coordinated by People for Guatemala. In the community of Pacoj we participated in a project in 2010. And, two years later, another group went back to the same community for another project. It was amazing to experience how the community had developed through the support of People of Guatemala.
When I moved to Guatemala several years ago I volunteered with People for Guatemala. I was very impressed with the dedication, passion, and commitment of the staff. But what I like most was the way they approached the communities and how they solved problems. The staff involves the community and encourage community members to find their own solutions. With this approach the community feels empowered, accountable, and are truly invested in the project, thus creating sustainable and permanent change!
People for Guatemala does exceptional work. Their integrated programs involve community members to provide long-term, sustainable change. I've worked with numerous organizations in Guatemala, and have found People for Guatemala to be run efficiently and competently, with a strong emphasis on helping people to help themselves.
Over the past 6 years I have traveled to Guatemala 6 times to support the work of this group and the rural communities that they serve. I could not imagine a more dedicated staff who work diligently to improve the lives of the villagers. Their community development has improved people's lives with concrete floors, latrines, vented stoves, water filtration, kindergartens, water systems, and community buildings. They also care for the medical needs of villagers with monthly clinics, funding specialized testing and care as needed, medications, eyeglasses, and durable medical supplies.
Two additional ways they stand out- As an organization there is willingness to partner with other organizations in Guatemala and outside the country to better meet the needs of the staff and villagers. They have also chosen to support their staff in receiving further education whether it is high school or university training.
I look forward to more visits to support the "boots on the ground".
People for Guatemala is doing very important work for the marginalized communities of Guatemala. Their approach is very grassroots and they focus more on quality than quantity. They are in the community working directly with individuals and helping the community prosper one family at a time. They empower the people through giving them an opportunity to participate in their own development and don´t impose outside ideas on the communities, as is so often the case in development work. Their methodology also contributes to the sustainability of the interventions through leaving the capacity installed in the community to carry on into the future.