I have been involved with Mayan Families for 6 years now. This organisation ensures that donors and sponsors can see first hand where their money goes by visiting with the students or elders one sponsors or seeing a project come to fruition. This November I am so excited as I will be bringing my 11 year old granddaughter, son-in-law and sister to Guatemala as I want them to meet the sisters I sponsor in a rural mountain village called El Barranco. Mayan Families staff will drive us to the home of the sisters I sponsor so we can visit with them for an afternoon; they will provide the driver, a vehicle, a Spanish/English interpreter and a Kaqchiquel/Spanish interpreter so that everyone can communicate comfortably. My granddaughter will be giving the children a box of superblocks and showing them how to build with them. We have been discussing Mayan culture, what to expect, how to get over shyness and language barriers to embrace my Guatemalan family.
My granddaughter has also made 10 gift bags for the women in the advanced sewing class as she loves to sew. These bags contain fabric, thread, lace and trim, buttons, and zippers for the ladies to use for home projects. She is enjoying the preparation for this trip as she helped me sort clothing and shoes, and bundle them into suitcases. i can hardly wait for this visit to happen with the support of Mayan Families staff. They make these visits easy and comfortable, breaking down cultural and language barriers, allowing friendship and trust to occur. not many non-profit organizations give to their sponsors and donors in this way.
I attached a photo of the girls I sponsor and their brother reading a Spanish book I brought as a gift. I feel this photo represents the relationship I have built up with this family. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity through Mayan Families.
Three years ago, on my 3rd visit to Panajachel, Guatemala, I decided to sponsor a 3 year old girl sothrough Mayan Families so she could attend preschool, get 2 meals per day, a daily vitamin, and learn Spanish in preparation for public school. I I wanted make a difference in the life on a girl, hoping to give her a chance for an education and a better future. At the same time, my mother decided to provide a considerable donation so that a teacher assistant could be hired for the pre-school.
Little did I know how this decision would impact my life and the journey it would take. This past November on my 5th visit to Guatemala, staff at Mayan Families arranged for me to spend an afternoon, visiting Marta Lidia and her family. My mother passed away this year, a difficult time for me. I brought a bag of her sweaters and shoes to give to the mother as a way to continue Mom's spirit for giving. Maria, the mother, was thrilled to have my mother's sweaters and actually chose to put on a pink one bringing me to tears as Mom was wearing that sweater on one of the last photos of the 2 of us. I showed the photo to this family. Orlando, the father, expressed deep condolences over my mother's death and proceeded to invite me to become a member of their family with the hopes that their love and support might in some small way, replace some of the love I miss from my mother. What an amazing gift - family and love - the biggest gift one could ever receive. And from a family that lives on $40 per week.
Little did I know that I would be the actual beneficiary from this sponsorship in such a meaningful and touching way. So thanks to Mayan Families for making the gift of love and family possible for me at a time when I missed my mother so much. I am so blessed and enriched by this volunteer opportunity.
Mayan families is a well established and fast growing non-profit. But don't let this fool you, they have the reputation of a great organization for a reason. Not only do they continue to help so many people in need but also, the people that work for Mayan Families really make it what it is. Mayan Families promotes a group help mentality; continually working and thinking together towards the goal of helping those in need. This, in turn, makes for a very awesome and in-depth volunteering experience. An experience consisting of more than being just a tourist, skimming the surface of a town, and not knowing how to help. I highly recommend Mayan Families to anyone looking for a volunteering opportunity in Guatemala.
I sponsor 9 children with Mayan Families and have volunteered with them many times. The staff is great and the organization does so much to help the indigenous families around lake Atitlan. They have made a difference in so many peoples lives.
While working with Mayan Families this past month, I could not tell you properly how impressed I was with both the staff, and their ability to make things work for the benefit of these Mayan Families. They are truly a blessing. I worked in the classroom while the students were taken individually to test their Spanish skills. Working with them in the classroom was great, but doing volunteer database work made it come full circle. I was able to see and input the results from the different schools, and they floored me. I was overall impressed with the staff and the students.
What a blessing working with Mayan Families! My husband and I just returned from our volunteer mission trip Nov 2014. During our trip we encountered so many kind and compassionate people.
Mayan Families is truly changing the lives of the children and families of Panajachel. We were welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. We cannot wait for our next opportunity to volunteer with Mayan Families.
I was a volunteer physician with a group from the Anona Church in the Tampa area. We volunteered our time and efforts to the Mayan People in five different areas. I personally have never seen such abject poverty. I have also never seen a more caring group with whom to work.
The Mayans are the indigenous people of Guatemala who like the American Indian have had there land taken away by the more powerful. Unfortunately, for the Mayans there is no safety net and they live malnourished, sick, uneducated and in such crowded and unhygienic conditions that it begs the imagination. Hands of Healing recognizes that the most sustainable thing they can do is education, specifically teach the Spanish language, water purification, provide efficient wood burning stoves, and do their best to provide some basic medical care. They are accomplishing this every day.
Personally, I saw diseases of children for which I could do nothing and for which there are no alternatives except HOH and they as an organization are overwhelmed with specific medical problems while at the same time, they realize that resources can be better spent on public health or education. Tough choices. I feel confident that HOH spends its monies prudently and efficiently in its great attempt to "treat thy neighbor as you would your self"
Gerry Kilpatrick MD.
We came to volunteer with Mayan Families as part of a Mission Trip. We installed stoves, worked in the pre-schools, organized a soccer game, and worked with elder care.
We were SO impressed with Mayan Families and everything they organized for us. Not only was it amazing to work so closely with the families and see a real impact we were having on their lives, but the Mayan Families staff was so friendly and helpful, it was wonderful getting to know them as well. They were very organized, planned everything for us, and we even had beautiful accommodations that they set up for us at a nice hotel, as well as got to go out for lots of great dinners with the Mayan Families staff.
My favorite parts were seeing our youth group having fun with the kids and youth from the area, playing soccer, catch, and just hanging out. The area is so beautiful, the people are real artisans and so kind, and Mayan Families was the best organization we have been on a mission trip with. I recommend them so highly!
I worked as an intern at Mayan Families for two months this summer and had the most rewarding and valuable experience of my life so far. I had visited Guatemala with a university group for one week in May and met with several nonprofit organizations across the country to find potential partners. Mayan Families stood out as well-organized and fast-growing. Throughout my entire internship there the staff was friendly and helpful. The organization runs numerous programs that very visibly help families living in poverty. Every native Guatemalan that I met appreciated the work that Mayan Families does in the region. They work very reliably and transparently when distributing donations. They truly do educate, feed, shelter, and heal.
We just returned after a 10 days working with Mayan Families. I, along with my daughter and nephew, have been volunteering with this great non-profit for the past 4 years. The focus of our volunteering has been to raise money for the purpose of installing stoves for indigenous families living around Lake Atitlan. The beauty of this particular program, and most of the programs run by Mayan Families, is the direct impact and immediate impact they have on the recipients. We love the fact that we see where the money we raised is going and that we literally have a hand in helping change the lives of people who truly need the help.
We continue to be impressed with Mayan Families' dedication to their motto to "Educate, Feed, Shelter, Feed" these wonderful people around Lake Atitlan.
This past weekend my daughter, nephew and I returned from a one week stay in Panajchel, Guatemala where we volunteeered with Mayan Families. Our focus this trip, our second year volunteering with Mayan Families, was to install stoves for 10 deserving Mayan families paid for with money that my nephew raised to support this very important effort. The beauty of installing stoves is that it has an immedate impact in transforming the health and well-being of each needy family who receives one. For us, the experience was magical and profoundly gratifying.
Generally, we can't say enough about the Mayan Families organization and the tireless efforts they make on behalf of the Mayan population around Lake Atitlan. The energy, love and care Sharon, Dwight and the entire MF crew give to enhance and change the lives of these lovely people is astounding. From educating, to feeding, to caring and building, they provide comprehensive support to the poor of the poor in Guatemala. We thank them for the opportunity to help.
We will be returning to Panajachel next year, with even more energy and resources than this year, with an eye to do our little part for those who work so hard and deserve so much.
I just got back from Guatemala after my third summer working with Mayan Families. During the year, I raise money from my community, and then go install fuel efficient, concrete stoves around Lake Atitlan. The stoves properly ventilate the smoke out of the home, avoiding the many health risks that come with an open fire. I have done numerous community service projects here in New York and in Tanzania. I can honestly say that Mayan Families is the most productive, organized nonprofit that I have ever worked for. What makes this particular organization unique, is that one really has a sense of exactly where his or her money is going. You raise the money to buy stoves, you go install the stoves. It is beautifully simple. I also can't say enough about the staff at Mayan Families. They have always been extremely kind, productive and helpful. I hope to have many more visits to Mayan Families in order to help the people of Lake Atitlan.
Mayan Families operates their charity in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. They work with Mayan people to improve the lives of the desperately poor. The projects include providing water filtration systems, building stoves that pipe smoke out of the home, providing children and elderly one hot meal a day, and operating preschools.
My experience with Mayan Families involved helping to build a stove for a family that was building wood fires on the floor of their home. This family had been abandoned by the father and the mother struggled to feed and cloth herself and her four children. The stove we built is fuel-efficient for wood burning and will improve the health of the family by piping the smoke out of the building, thus reducing eye and lung inflammation and illness.
Growing up in the U.S., this is a level of poverty I have never witnessed before. The work that Mayan Families does for the native people of Guatemala is critical and fundamental to improving the health and basic well-being of the Mayan people.
I spent several days volunteering with Mayan Families in July, 2014. Mayan Families is the perfect partner for visiting groups who want to make a difference in the lives of the people in the highlands of Guatemala. They know the greatest needs among families, and coordinate our projects. We built highly efficient cooking stoves, passed out shoes to many children, and visited our families we sponsor. They are also instrumental in providing medical and nutritional support to many impoverished families. I can't say enough good things about Mayan Families. They have a heart for these wonderful residents of Guatemala, and the things they have accomplished in 6-7 years is amazing.
What a wonderful opportunity to help God's people. It is good to know that what is given for the Mayan families, goes to the people who need help. All the Mayan voluntees seem to love their roles and care about the Mayan people. They were so willing to do anything that we asked. It might be good to see the upper level school. We did spend a lot of time waiting for directions. Connie did a great job planning things for us to see. Sharon opening her home for us was wonderful. Thank you Hananna for all your help. It was a great experience.
I bring groups twice a yr. and am always so pleased with the work Mayan Families does here. I couldn't arrange these trips without all their help. My groups have sponsored over 70 students through Mayan Families to enable them to get an education along with helping the families with much needed food and clothing. We'll be back in Nov.
I have been working with Mayan Families for the last several yrs. and take groups down to Guatemala twice a yr. My groups have sponsored over 70 students in school and we are about to build our first house for a family in El Barranco. None of this would have been possible without Mayan Families. They help with hotels, transportation and all the work and home visits we do.Guatemala has been a blessing to my life and Mayan Families made that happen.
I am a dental hygiene student and had the opportunity to work with the Mayan Families on a mission trip through school. As I worked with the Mayan families I was extremely surprised with how many great things the Mayan families did for the people of Guatemala. They did a great job organizing our activities while we worked with the Guatemalans. They truly have a love for what they do and they are very compassionate about their work.
I am a dental hygiene student and a small group of dental hygiene and nursing students went to Guatemala and worked for a few days with the Mayan Families. I really enjoyed working with them and it was a great experience. This organization is doing amazing work for the Guatemala people. I was amazed at how organized they were and how much of a difference they are making for these families. I would love to work with them again!
I had the opportunity to bring 10 university students along with another professor to volunteer our health care services. It was truly a life altering experience. The experience we had with Mayan families far exceeded my expectations. It also gave us an opportunity to fact find and see what else we could do for Mayan families as we continue our relationship and plan on returning.
I am nursing student that had the privilege to work with Mayan Families. I am absolutely impressed at how much of an impact Mayan Families has already made amongst the population. The staff is full of such great and caring people -- each person made me feel welcome and I enjoyed working with each one of them. After working Mayan Families and seeing what a positive impact they've created for these families, public health nursing and working with indigenous populations has now become an interest as a possible career path.
I work in international education and helped coordinate a volunteer program through Mayan Families for our College of Nursing and Public Health. It is a regular function of my job to help coordinate such linkages and, at times, we've been disappointed in the agencies we've targeted. I honestly could not be more thrilled at what we found at Mayan Families... caring people who've grown their non-profit to effectively feed and service over 2500 community members.
I am so moved by what they do and so happy to be at, what I hope, is the start of a long relationship between our university and their programs.
We visited Mayan Families this summer as part of our second trip to Guatemala. We have supported two students through Mayan Families for several years, and even before our visit, we viewed it as a wonderful organization which brings aid directly to impoverished families and which very directly helps improve their lives and the futures of their children. We were able to visit both the students we support, and we saw how connected Mayan Families is to the families they help and how aware they are of the needs of each one.
We also were privileged to volunteer in some of the pre-schools that Mayan Families operates around Lake Atitlan. It was a tremendous experience. The schools are exceptionally well run and provide great benefits to the poor children who attend them by both teaching them a preschool curriculum (including introducing them to Spanish, a second language for many of the children) and by feeding them nutritious meals. In addition, we brought some medical supplies with us, and we saw the invaluable medical services that Mayan Families provides at its main site. Many, many Guatemalan families lack any access to health care due to their poverty and Mayan Families works tirelessly to help them.
Mayan Families is a great, great organization, and we will continue to support them because we know how directly and effectively they benefit poor families in Guatemala.
Mike and Janet, Oakland, CA