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Mil Milagros Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Food, Literacy, Nutrition, Preschools, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Mil Milagros/A Thousand Miracles partners with communities in rural Guatemala to prevent malnutrition and hunger and to improve children's health and education in Guatemala. The Guatemalan Ministry of Education reports that 66% of sixth graders in Guatemala graduate from primary school, and the rates are estimated to be just 40% in rural communities like those where Mil Milagros works. According to UNICEF, 50% of the children in Guatemala are malnourished - the highest rate in the western hemisphere . However, the rates of child malnutrition exceed 70% in rural indigenous communities like those where Mil Milagros works.

Results: • Since 2010, 97% of 6th graders in Mil Milagros partner schools have graduated. • Rates of child malnutrition and stunting have been reduced by 50% among those children who regularly participate in Mil Milagros' early childhood development program. • More than 750 mothers and grandmothers have been trained in nutrition, hygiene, and leadership. • Children have developed and practice healthy hygiene habits including: tooth brushing, hand washing, and using soap. • Successful strategic partnerships have been formed with other NGOs to address other needs including clean water and healthcare services. In addition, Mil Milagros has worked with other NGO's to build 23 homes, 12 school bathrooms, and two schools in MM's partner communities.

Target demographics: More than 1,500 children (ages six months to 15 years) and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,500+ children, 600+ mothers and grandmothers, and 95 teachers

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: early childhood development, nutrition, health/hygiene, literacy, and training for mothers and grandmothers

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Juan Antonio G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is my pleasure to share my experiences volunteering for the past two years for my favorite charity, Mil Milagros in Sololá, Guatemala. I have personally experienced the great impact that MM has been achieving in the rural areas of my country.

I worked from April to July this year in several of the schools and communities the participate with Mil Milagros. I was able to see how happy and well fed the children are and ready to learn. Also I saw the parents involvement in the schools either in preparing daily meals for the children or participating in classes or workshops designed to improve their skills in the areas of health, nutrition and childcare. The quality of services that this program os offering to all the participants, is very impressive.
I can describe the success to this program in three words, dedication, transparency and efficiency .

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is with great pleasure that I write this review on behalf of Mil Milagros. As a Guatemalan educator, I have being able to witness the amazing transformation occurring among the children, their families and the villages where the program has been functioning in the State of Sololá.
Last year I had the opportunity to visit my country and to work directly with the children, parents and teachers in four of the eight Mil Milagros schools. Seeing the results of happy, well fed, healthy children who are so willing to learn, made me feel that there is hope for a better future in my country. Knowing how important this program truly is, I am committed to return this year to continue the work that I started during my firs visit.
Thank you Mil Milagros for providing our children and parents with the tools to be in charge of their communities, for allowing them to find and use their own voices to express their feelings, desires and dreams.

Marcie V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to volunteer in the fall of 2016 for Mil Milagros. The commitment and dedication that Mil Milagros has to a greater purpose is unforgettable. Every member of this organization is driven and considerate. After speaking to coordinators in Mil Milagros' Guatemala and Boston sites, I am positive Mil Milagros is a positive force for change that will never rest. To me, Mil Milagros is a family. Everyone from Guatemala to Boston had an immense amount of care for each other and from this organization, I learned that the best thing you can share with the world is knowledge. Margaret Blood and Mil Milagros are sharing knowledge with mothers in rural Guatemala every day, and I cannot wait to see how this nonprofit grows and gives in the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently returned from a 5 day trip to Solola with an amazing group of people to see an amazing organization and the work it does. While in Guatemala the group I was with visited four different schools that Mil Milagros has touched, and it is apparent that a touch from this organization is a touch of life, for the children, and teachers in those schools showed nothing but thankfulness and friendship when we walked through their doors. Mil Milagros' work in these schools surely has changed the lives of these children, giving them their first meal of the day, allowing them to focus and actually show up for school. I never in my life have seen children so happy to receive dental floss, but it just shows how much these kids truly want to be healthy, and how they want to learn and grow. It is because of Mil Milagros that they are given this opportunity that they so obviously long for, it is remarkable work that is being done. I hope to visit again very soon.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just came back from my third trip to Guatemala. During this trip, I visited four of the schools supported by Mil Milagros. This was a wonderful and rewarding experience. Mil Milagros does an amazing job with supporting these schools. The children are always so grateful for what they receive and everything that they have. The love that Margaret has for this program, that she created, is beautiful to witness. The children when they see her, surround her with nothing but love and hugs. Being adopted from Guatemala has made this experience eye-opening for me. I know that I could have been one of those children. Just knowing that I can make a difference in these children's lives is more than I can ask for, and being able to give back to those who need it. This time going to Guatemala was different and I could really see it more as a place in my heart and somewhere that I know is always going to feel like home.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent my summer volunteering with Mil Milagros. I had the opportunity to visit their partner schools, watch how the staff worked in the office and also conducted 1:1 interviews with their Mother Leaders. The team really cares about the population they work with, and they understand the challenges that their communities face, which is crucially important. During my interviews with the Mother Leaders, I heard so many stories about how Mil Milagros had impacted these women's lives. Not only did the mothers report that their children were healthier, but they also reported that they themselves had gained so much from working with Mil Milagros - self-confidence, a community, and more.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering with Mil Milagros for several months in their Boston office and a month in their Guatemala office. Both locations instilled in me a sense of amazement at the variety of high-impact work that is occurring in Guatemala. Not only do the Guatemalan partner communities collaborate with Mil Milagros staff, but they lead and develop the majority of the projects. It was fascinating to see the direct benefits from the health and hygiene, educational, and nutritional projects on the children, but also the profound impact the projects made on the mother and grandmother leaders in each community. Grandmothers who became influential leaders in their communities and mothers who were inspired to go back to school were common stories amongst all of their partner communities.

Needless to say, Mil Milagros is one of the very few non-profits out there that invests in the right combination of community involvement, health, education, and women's leadership with a high success rate. I am confident in saying that an investment in Mil Milagros will take you farther than other organizations. I look forward to witnessing their continued success as they expand their work with-risk mothers, grandmothers, and children in one of the poorest areas in the world.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering for Mil Milagros for 3.5 months, working primarily as their communications volunteer. I helped operate their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as helping out in field with the lessons that my coworkers planned. I was impressed by how well Mil Milagros worked with its partner communities, and not simply for them. Being on social media all the time and reading about a lot of other non-profits in the area, I was struck by how many weren't working to establish long-term change, and instead were just giving handouts. Mil Milagros, on the other hand, spends a lot of time and energy working with the mothers of its partner schools to train them in proper hygiene and nutrition practices so that Mil Milagros can step away from the community after a few years and the mothers can continue teaching their communities without skipping a beat.
Additionally, I admired how well the staff members worked with and got to know the members of the partner communities; mothers and children alike felt very comfortable approaching them with any questions or feedback they had.
Mil Milagros is an organization that creates tangible, lasting change, and I cannot recommend it enough.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Mil Milagros as part of my social work practicum. I saw how the organization was able to accomplish such breadth of work with a small staff, and did so in a way that honored the dignity of each community Mil Milagros works with. Mil Milagros employs a partnership model, meaning that the organization does not simply impose its ideas, but rather works in alliance to implement its program and meet the needs identified by the communities. Community members are not just passive beneficiaries, but they actually play an integral role in executing the program. This unique approach therefore goes beyond a typical charitable model. By working with, and not just for the communities, Mil Milagros' approach is more sustainable and effective. I learned a lot about how to build rapport with individuals, families, and communities, and how to develop impactful programs. Additionally, as a volunteer, I felt especially supported and valued. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to form part of the Mil Milagros team!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son Alex and I had the extraordinary opportunity to see first hand the positive impact Mil Milagros is having with so many children, families, and teachers in Guatemala. The very small staff accomplishes so much for so many. Margaret, Carolyn, and the other staff members have put in Daly Blood (pun intended) and sweat in ensuring every penny is put to good use in improving the nutrition and hygiene of many children and families.
We appreciated the time given during our visit to remind us both what is important in life. The families of Guatemala are very fortunate to have Mil Milagros a part of their lives and Mil Milagros is very fortunate to be paid back with so much love and gratitude.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was honored to volunteer with Mil Milagros last summer in their Boston office. I was impressed both with the efficacy of the program and by the dedicated, passionate people who do so much to make the goals of Mil Milagros a reality. One of the things I love about Mil Milagros is that the program works with local women to strengthen the community from the ground up. In this way, Mil Milagros has been able to improve nutrition, health, education, and women's rights all at the same time. I am very lucky to have been able to work with such a wonderful organization.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of working with Mil Milagros staff this past summer. Their passion, creativity, and drive for constantly improving upon their holistic programming, and their responsiveness to community-determined needs, were truly inspiring.

Mil Milagros not only provides the much needed resources for the operation of their programs, but also builds the capacity of mother-leaders for a sustainable impact of child development in the communities in which they serve. In conversations with the mothers, I heard their first-hand accounts of the many ways in which Mil Milagros has changed their lives, the lives of their children and their communities. Mil Milagros has sparked hope for the future of their children, and has empowered women to have the confidence to voice their opinions and lead in their communities.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The impact Mil Milagros has on some of the poorest communities in Guatemala is dynamic. They promote and support innovative solutions. I was most impressed by how they not only feed students daily at various schools but the "mother leaders" of the students are the ones that come in and prepare the food for the children. They also provide teacher training for the teachers in the same schools. Everything about Mil Milagros shows how they work alongside the communities they serve and foster and strengthen the capacity for self help and growth. Mil Milagros is truly one of the most amazing organizations that I have had the true blessing to work with.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a couple of months during the summer in 2013 volunteering with MilMilagros. It was a huge blessing to be able to witness the amazing work that they are doing in the local schools and to be a part of that work. I especially appreciated how the mothers of the students in each school worked so hard each day to provide lunches to the students. It is great to see how MilMilagros ensures that the communities have ownership over the projects, that they are involved in every step.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last August I traveled to Guatemala with fellow church members to participate in and witness the works of Mil Milagros. I can easily say that it was the best experience of my life. Being a 16-year-old high school student, I had never traveled outside of the country without my family and had certainly never been a part of something so much bigger than myself. I was nervous at first. However, once I arrived, I was immediately welcomed by Margaret Blood and her staff members, as well as the locals. From that point on, I knew that I had nothing to fear and that this trip was going to be one that I would never forget. My group traveled to many schools throughout different parts of the country where we helped the kids read, practice their math skills, and paint! In addition, I was able to observe the miraculous doings of Mil Milagros in their efforts to help eliminate malnutrition in the youth, and teach the students about the importance of health and hygiene. With the help of Colgate, we distributed kits of toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children at these schools, which they all greatly appreciated. The work of Mil Milagros does not just benefit the children; it benefits their mothers, the teachers, and the schools as a whole. The children of Guatemala are some of the smallest in the world and usually do not graduate past the 6th grade. Introducing healthy lunches and vitamin supplements to these schools and young kids has immensely helped change that circumstance and provided hope for students and their families. Being able to be a part of all this in addition to learning about the beautiful culture and inspiring stories of the Guatemalan people has changed me as a person, made me view the world differently, and inspired me to continue to want to help others. This experience was truly amazing! Mil Milagros has definitely lived up to its name!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The project team at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UIUC chapter had the pleasure of working with Mil Milagros this past month! Mil Milagros worked alongside our group of university students as well as professional engineers in the Chichimuch, Guatemala region. We assessed the feasibility of a new water supply project in Chichimuch. They ensured our week in the country ran smoothly as our chapter worked closely with the town council members. Two years ago Mil Milagros brought to our attention the water shortage problem in Chichimuch. They invited us to work together with them to solve the challenge. They helped organize the logistics before our arrival and welcomed us for a second time in Chichimuch this March. Mil Milagros has guaranteed the Guatemala Water Project at our university continues to move forward. We look forward to continue working with them in the future! Carolyn and Megan served as the main communicators between EWB and Chichimuch making sure information was clearly communicated among both sides. We have developed a strong relationship with Mil Milagros and they go out of their way to facilitate the EWB project. They also help perform year round checks in terms of water data collection for our project. That has helped enormously in keeping the project up to date. We are glad to be able to count on them as a partner!

7 Jo-Ann B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am continually inspired by the work of Mil Milagros. Over 5 years ago, I attended a house party that was selling beautiful jewelry and bags made by artisians in Guatemala. I was hooked, once I saw the smiling faces of the children who were benefitting from the money raised at this event. I couldn't beleive how this non-profit, Mil Milagros, was able to do so much with so little. The fact that they were a group who listened to how the local people viewed their needs and built programs to help meet those needs, was refreshing. This group didn't just go in to a village and tell the people who were living there, what they would do to "fix" their challenges. They listended and engaged the local people so that the programs developed will be able to be sustained for years to come. To now see the pictures of the children with their mothers and grandmothers standing side by side as they eat a healthy lunch and learn is wonderful. I consider it an honor to be even a little part of the wonderful work that Mil Milagros does on a daily basis. I hope some day to be able to travel to this beautiful country and see first hand the results of the hard work that goes in to making Mil Milagros a wonderful non-profit.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited Mil Milagros this summer and was awed by the work they are doing to give hope to the families there. I have been working with Artesenia sales for five years, raising money and telling the story, and am re-committed to helping in any way I can to support the work that is being done. To see the smiles on the faces of the children and their mothers as they welcomed us was humbling. The staff works tirelessly to find the nutritious food and transport it to the schools where the mothers prepare and serve their children. We helped to deliver and facilitate water filters to a homeless community and to weigh and measure preschoolers and distribute nutrition supplements to aid in battling malnutrition. To realize that you can feed and educate a child for a $1 a day is inspiring. The success in graduating children from 6th grade, offering the hope for a better life shows how meaningful the work of Mil Milagros is in helping to change the world.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered to lead a group of dentists from Boston University to help provide dental care and dental education for children in Guatemala served by Mil Milagros. we very much enjoyed working with the Mil Milagros staff. What impressed me the most was that not only was education and nutrition supported directly but that it was sustained by involving the mothers in the community in nutritional education and, during our mission, oral hygiene education. Involving the community in carrying out the mission of Mil Milagros has the potential for long lasting benefit over and above direct services to the children. The staff of Mil Milagros are dedicated to the mission to the point of joyful passion. a nonprofit well deserving of our investment.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I volunteered with with Mil Milagros in 2010 and 2013, I visited 23 families living in rotary club tents and cooking together in an outdoor kitchen in a village high above Lake Atitlan after a huge mud slide had destroyed their homes and school. I also visited a small school in Pana where madres and abuelas were making a nutritious lunch for all of the children. At an incredibly inspiring party for Mil Milagros last week in Newton (sept, 2014), many Waltham-Guatemalan families enjoyed dinner, dancing to marimba playing and gave so much of their spirit and support so that Mil Milagros can continue the work in their homeland. All of the 23 families are now living in cinder block homes through connections made by Mil Milagros!!! I also met a BU dental surgeon and his wife who brought 5 dental students to San Juan on Lake Atitlan last Spring to provide a year's worth of floride treatment to 250 children while he did more complex dental work.
What a difference one visionary and caring person can make in the lives of children and families!!!
Thank you to Margaret Blood and her dedicated board members and volunteers!!
Count me in to return next year!!
Sandy Sachs, Child Development Specialist, Family Nurturing of MA

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that is truly changing lives - not just short term, but long term. What Mil MIlagros does is nothing short of community transformation....by partnering with families (particularly mothers and grandmothers) and communities/schools, they are building local capacity to improve and sustain outcomes not just for the children, but for the entire community. Mil Milagros's work and approach respects and leverages local ownership, cultural sensitivities, and input. Mil Milagros is flexible and opportunistic, and willing to rethink tactics based on evaluation of what is/is not working. This is a model that should be learnt from and replicated in developing countries across the globe.