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A personal view of the effects of COVID-19 in Guatemala

Dear supporter of Guatemala Stove Project, 

I am writing this letter to you from my home on my computer- a place I have spent much of my time in the past 4 months.  Like you, my world has been turned upside down by COVID-– working from home, separation from family and friends, worry and wonder about what the future holds. I have been amazed by our communities’ ability to adapt and carry on. I have also been heartened that basic human instincts to work together for the common good and to care for each other seem to reassert themselves in times of struggle. 

However, I am aware that we who live in the first world have privileges and safeguards that many of the world’s people do not have. As someone who has supported the work of the Guatemala Stove Project in the past, you understand those privileges and the much greater difficulty impoverished families face in dealing with disasters, pandemics and any disruptions to the economy.

In the immediate aftermath of border closures and lockdowns around the world, we all worked to ensure our own safety and that of our loved ones, friends and immediate neighbours. Now, we are beginning to hear of the toll the pandemic and resulting restrictions economic upheavals are having on other areas in the world. 

The GSP has been in frequent communication with our NGO partners in western Guatemala. Their reports are alarming. Infection rates are rising and predicted to continue to rise in the coming months. Large intergenerational Maya families live in small, crowded homes where distancing is not possible. Restrictions on economic activities mean the piece work that helps these subsistence-farming families survive, no longer exists for them. Drought conditions and a faltering corn crop are pushing those already on the margins over the edge. Even greater hardship and starvation are the looming reality.  

The GSP Board of Directors made the decision in early April to send funds for emergency aid to our three partners in Guatemala. Rather than funding stoves, education initiatives or micro-loans, the money was used to buy essential food items such as corn, beans, rice and oil for families that had little or none. This aid made a crucial difference to many families.  

 As you know, the GSP is a small volunteer run charity which can deliver over 90% of funds raised directly to Guatemala. However, with our regular fundraising abilities hampered by social distancing limitations, our ability to raise needed funds has beenheavily impacted.  If you have donated to the Guatemala Stove Project before or are considering ways to help others, please consider donating now to help families in need.  Our partners, Mayas themselves, are able to
act immediately to purchase and distribute food packages to families who are struggling to meet their basic daily needs. 

The Guatemala Stove Project, with your support, will continue the fight to help Maya families in need. You can help us by donating now to send emergency aid.

To donate, you can:

  1. E-transfer (the most efficient means of
    donating) 
    Log into your on-line bank account, navigate to the section for interac e-transfer and simply follow instructions to add a recipient and send funds

2. Send a cheque payable to: Guatemala Stove Project, PO Box 20057 Perth, ON. K7H 3M6

*Please include the following information for a tax receipt: Your name and full mailing address including postal code as well as your email address (wherever possible, receipts are sent via e-mail tosave postage fees)

 For more information about the current situation in Guatemala:

  1. Watch a short video where Ishim Yac, a GSP partner (and Maya mother of 4) details the current plight of her people
  2. Contact our coordinator Tom Clarke (Tom@tomclarke.ca) or myself, Phill
    Brackenbury, at pcbrackenbury@gmail.com
     

Sincerely, 

Phill Brackenbury, GSP Board of Directors

A .pdf version of this letter is available for downloading

 

 

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