Help a Guatemalan village

Hand-drawn Christmas cards help school children in stricken area

Louise Sosa is hoping for a strong response to her Christmas card campaign to help children in Guatemala.

When Christmas shoppers in District 69 lay their presents under the tree this year, Louise Sosa hopes they’ll include a locally-made Christmas card in the package.

The Qualicum Beach resident is the spokesperson for  Aldea Maya, an organization that has been working to relieve poverty in the Guatemalan highlands for the past five years.

Sosa said her group has begun a campaign to raise funds for school children in the new village of Chukamuk, making use of the artistic talents of children in seven local schools to make Christmas cards.

“Chukamum is a new village that was built for refugees from the 2005 landslide in their former village of Panabaj,” she said. “It was 40 feet thick and half a mile wide and killed between 600 and 800 people.”

Although the survivors have a brand new village in a safe location, Sosa said they have no food to eat or any way to make any money — a problem exacerbated by the loss of a disproportionate number of men in the community.

“They kept going in to save people,” Sosa said. “A lot of them died.”

The new village, she added, is in a part of Guatemala that has fifth worst record for chronic malnutrition in the world, so Sosa and her team began a program to provide at least some self-sufficiency in this regard.

“We started garden and nutrition projects where every child in Grade 2 receives a banana plant, while Grade 3 children get a papaya plant and Grade 6 students receive a citrus tree,” she said. “The kids get nutrition and cooking classes and within a year, the families are getting food to eat.”

Similarly, the group gives two large chickens and a bag of feed to all Grade 5 students and teach them how to build a chicken coop and look after their birds.

Because none of the children went past Grade 6, the group converted an existing building into a middle school, to allow children to continue their education.

“We pay all the teachers’ salaries and buy all the supplies,” Sosa said. “By January of 2013 we should have 80 kids in grades seven and eight.”

The way they pay for their projects, she said, is through Christmas card sales.

“These cards will enable the children to go to school,” she said. “I have to sell $50-worth for their books, math sets, calculators and so on, and I need another $35 to pay for school fees for a year.”

She stressed that all monies raised go directly towards the children involved in the program and none of it goes towards administration.

 

The cards range in price from $15 to $50 each and are available at Our Glass in Parksville and Arbutus Emporium in Qualicum Beach.

 

 

Just Posted

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

Flock of spinners holding fleece and fibre fair in Coombs

Annual event raises money for Bradley Centre, supports local producers and vendors

BC Ferries CEO, president speaks to Parksville and Qualicum Beach chambers

Guest asks about Vancouver Island resident discount fares

Local plant artist featured in national exhibit and in Qualicum Beach

Sherry Mitchell showing in Ottawa and at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

B.C. Transit shows off NextRide bus technology

New technology allows for real-time tracking, to be rolled out through early 2019

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

RCMP caution boaters after two kids pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning

Both children were given oxygen and taken to hospital

B.C. invests $115M to create 200 new nurse practitioner jobs

Health Minister says 780,000 B.C. residents don’t have a family doctor

Supreme Court rules social housing residents in B.C. deserve rights too

Tenants trying to stabilize their living situations should not face less legal rights than those paying market rates: Judge

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

Most Read