PASO POR PASO
Members of the Orillia-based organization, Paso Por Paso (Step by Step), which assists in the support of Mayan families in the highlands area of Guatemala, are returning there for a visit in February.
This will be the first time they have visited the area since February 2020, prior to the pandemic.
Paso Por Paso was founded in 2007 by former teachers in Orillia and has since then raised funds to assist students in completing their elementary and secondary education. Without these sponsorships, many students would not be able to continue past the mandatory Grade 6 level as is the education standard set in Guatemala — a standard that is often not met.
In addition, Paso Por Paso has provided funds for many improvements at the primary school in the village of Tierra Linda. They have covered costs for supplies and equipment for the school, as well as a roof over an outdoor courtyard for protection from the rain and the sun.
Another initiative Paso funds is individual sponsorships for students pursuing further education at the college or university level. An entrepreneurship program funded by Paso Por Paso supports 40 women in the area who are starting their own business.
During the pandemic, Paso Por Paso has continued to communicate regularly and receive updates with their partner organization in Guatemala. However, the members headed to Guatemala in February are keen to renew their connections with the people and students there and to personally see first-hand the projects we support. There will also be opportunities to discuss the ways in which Paso can provide support in the future.
“Paso Por Paso’s annual trek to Guatemala has been greatly missed over the past three years. Personally, I am looking forward to participating in the community and reacquainting with individuals I have met in my past visits there," says Doris Middleton, president of Paso Por Paso, who will be a member of the group travelling to Guatemala in February.
"Three directors participating in this trip are new to Paso’s board. I will be interested to see their reactions and hear their thoughts on the work we do there,” said Middleton.
On their return, the group will share information regarding the conditions in Guatemala and at Tierra Linda with their members and supporters. For more information, visit their website, pasoporpaso.ca, or Facebook page, Paso Por Paso.