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Paso Por Paso helping Mayan students one desk at a time

Local group ensured 56 new desks and tables were delivered to students so they could learn safely and follow social distancing protocols

Paso Por Paso, a locally based charity, has been in operation for more than 15 years, assisting the Mayan people in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala.

We have funded student sponsorship programs from elementary school to university, micro credit programs for indigenous Mayan women and numerous upgrades over the years to a local school.

Our most recent endeavour was the Tierra Linda school desk project. During the last visit that Paso Por Paso members made to Guatemala in February 2020, the Tierra Linda teachers voiced concern over the state of the desks.

Many desks were broken beyond repair and some were dangerous for students to sit in with rough, broken edges and missing pieces. The new desks were constructed by a local non-government organization, rather than purchasing them from outside of Guatemala.

Fifty-six desks and tables were delivered to the local school at the end of April this year. This was enough to equip four classrooms to operate within their social distancing guidelines and will allow more students to attend classes. The school director and the students couldn’t have been more excited!

The global pandemic has caused great hardship and economic disruption throughout the world. This is especially so for the impoverished indigenous people of Guatemala.

The severe drought that has hit the mountainous region of the country where most of the Mayan people live has compounded the situation. Malnutrition rates there are among the highest rates in the world.

Over 60 per cent of the children in the region are impacted by chronic lack of nutrition. The most pressing issue for many families is “how do I feed my children today.”

Healthcare is inadequate and not readily available to all. Poor infrastructure within the country makes matters worse. Guatemala has one of the lowest COVID vaccination rates in Central America.

The pandemic will eventually end. We can see light at the end of the tunnel here. In other parts of the world things are not as rosy.

“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day, teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime” is the approach of most organizations that provide assistance in developing countries. Proper nutrition, education and local entrepreneurship seem to be the key for meaningful change. Paso Por Paso continues to be committed to taking part in this work.

Due to the pandemic Paso Por Paso has not been able to carry out many of our usual fundraising events. Hopefully, this will change in the coming months. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we have been able to continue our existing programs and support a few new initiatives.

More information about Paso Por Paso can be found on our website at



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