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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Emergency Assistance, 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

253 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is so important to the indigenous families of the Lake Atitlan area. These unselfish, humanitarian people provide needed clothing, shoes, food, education, and homes to the families and children of these villages. However, they also are totally involved in working with Mayan people of all ages -- from the youngest children to the elderly. Mayan Families finds a way to provide homes for those families who cannot provide for themselves. Medical and dietary assistance is brought to the elderly. They selflessly spay and neuter dogs and cats in the villages.

Having spent a week volunteering for Mayan Families, I was amazed at Dwight and Sharon's dedication to helping preseve the lives and dignity of the Mayan Families. Their focus is to help eliminate malnutrition (e.g., food baskets, chickens) , provide education for the young people (e.g., school sponsorships for preschool through university), improve the quality and health conditions for the families (e.g., ONIL stoves, walter filters, clothing, shoes, medicines/medical care), and celebrate/respect the cultural beliefs and traditions of the Mayan families in this area of Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families was a pleasure to volunteer with and it didn't take long to realize how important their work is to the community. Their services are essential to many families and the results are tangible. I had an excellent time volunteering with them and hope to return when I can.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with Mayan Families now for 2 summers (1 week per visit) and have really been impressed by the breadth of the work they do and the way they are embraced by the local communities they touch. They are tireless and while things can appear chaotic to the untrained eye - underneath the surface a lot of wonderful work is done. They are AWESOME at providing tangible feedback to both those who are there doing the work and through their photo-documentation of all the work they do. I really have enjoyed my time working with them and believe they are making a tangible differences in the lives of thousands in their area.

belle2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i spent several months in Panajachel, Guatemala as a volunteer with Mayanfamilies, doing a variety of things. I was really impressed by their grass roots approach and the fact that assistance was given really quickly to those who needed it. I was also really impressed by the dedication of the staff who are mainly indigenous, so are learning skills and being educated as well. They may never have been able to achieve this without the help of Mayan families. I am in touch frquently, and hope to return in 2012 to be hands on in this wonderful organisation again. Sharon and Dwight and all their amazing staff deserve the best.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I arrived from Australia to volunteer for Mayan families, just prior to "tropical storm Agatha." I witnessed at first hand, Mayan Families immediate response in assisting those people in urgent need, providing food and clothing to those pueblos hardest hit.I have seen the wonderful work that is being done here by an unstinting and committed staff.

Melissa M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have sponsored a student for the last four years and I send her and her family donations of food during the year. I love receiving letters from her and she always is so thankful for her education sponsorship. She has many dreams for herself and I am blessed to be part of her achieving her goals in life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to intern with Mayan Families for two months this summer. My only complaint would be that I wasn't working with them long enough. I've never met people so kind and compassionate and it was very nice to be reminded that those type of people exist. The Guatemalan and foreign staff, alike, were all very respectful and warm. I worked in the office for the most part, but when I was able to visit the various programs, I was very impressed with their organization and their direct impact on the community. I definitely will come back to work/intern/volunteer with Mayan Families again. They are truly an amazing organization that is definitely worth supporting!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Mayan Families for 3 months and had a fantastic experience! The staff is friendly and helpful and always willing to stop to answer questions or just to say hello. Sharon and Dwight are both incredible people... their dedication and loyalty towards the indigenous Mayan people is unsurpassed. I had the pleasure of working outside of the Mayan Families Headquarters, in the lawn where the people wait to receive assistance. Everyone I talked to shared the same attitude of thankfulness and joy towards the assistance that Mayan Families had provided to them. I would highly recommend working with or supporting Mayan Families!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families assisted our organization, Global Hands of Healing, with our medical, dental, and vision mission trip and the week could not have gone better. Mayan Families identified the villages that would benefit the most from our services and arranged for us to set up in each of these villages to provide much needed health care. They provided the help needed to set up and translate and anything else that we were not able to provide for ourselves. Mayan Families is doing amazing work in these villages, especially with the children and the elderly. We will definitely partner with them again for future mission trips to Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently traveled with a group called Global Hands of Healing to Panajachel, Guatemala. With the help of Mayan Families, we completed 4 days of medical/dental/vision clinic in 4 small villages surrounding Panajachel. We COULD NOT have done this work without Mayan Families' help. They organized where we would set up our clinic each day, they informed the people in the villages that we would be coming, and they provided safe transportation and great translators for us! We also got to know many people at Mayan Families personally and shared several meals together. The people working for Mayan Families are truly devoted to helping underprivileged Guatemalans (and their pets!) and are extremely friendly and accommodating to their volunteers!

Sue L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our daughter who is an emergency nurse in Vancouver wanted to volunteer, so my husband and I really liked the work Mayan Families was doing when we helped 6 years ago. We requested information about specific work that we would be doing if we came back. There were lots of opportunities and projects on the go, where we could help. Mayan Families is very good about giving you information about where to stay, and getting you from the airport with shuttles etc.

We made the arrangements and just returned from Panajachel, Guatemala. We spent 2 weeks helping Mayan Families in Pana. We arrived at the beginning of June, and there were many medical clinics helping in all the small villages around Lake Atitland. It was amazing to see many volunteers just showing up wanting to help.

We met many wonderful staff, volunteers and quickly became involved in what ever was needed.


My husband and I came to help volunteer with Mayan Families 6 years ago in 2005, as we were making our way through Central America. The organization based in Panajatchel, Guatemala has a passion for helping the indigenous men, women and children who have been devastated by natural disasters and poverty. We were willing to help where ever they needed us. There was a great need at the time to help rebuild homes, for those who were devastated with the mud slides and flooding after Hurricane Stan. The adobe washes away over time with the floods and needs to be replaced. We worked on three projects (two in Panajachel and one in San HorHay) over the course of 2-3 weeks. One family of 13 had been living under a piece of metal roofing for atleast 5 months. It was so rewarding to be part of a group of volunteers who came from all over the world to help. Mayan Families knew their familie's needs and placed us on a team to do construction. To see the appreciation through the smiles of the families that we helped was so worthwhile and meaningful, as they finally had a small wooden frame house with bunk beds, an outside kitchen which was a framed open structure with a roof and an out house.
We witnessed families that had been given micro loans to buy chickens and a rooster, or to run a small store out of their homes. There were sewing classes to teach the single moms, while their children were being cared for. Children were being sponsored to go to school and become educated. Clinics were set up to help children with spina bifida due to a lack of folic acid in their diets. So many worthwhile needs were being met. Love, compassion, and a drive to help others was very evident by those involved with Mayan Families.