Ciudad Vieja, Christmas 2020.
Dear friends of the TsW group:
A Christmas greeting and a hug to all of you.
This pandemic has united us all in our humanity, in our fragility in the face of uncertainty, in our concern for our loved ones, in the impossibility of accompanying our sick friends and acquaintances. This pandemic has also pointed out to us the great persistence differences of the survival ability between the poor and not so poor.
In Guatemala, the few resources of our state are spent in unnecessary wages and corrupt investments, the poor survive the pandemic and the effect of two hurricanes amid with little public support and empathy…
Many poor people lost their jobs or lost their informal economic activity… With your help, we were able to distribute 4.500 rations of food in poor mayan villages and in areas affected by the hurricanes. We have the volunteering, support of churches, local mayors and peasant organizations to reach families in great need and sometimes isolated by flooding.
We also continue activity or the Rainer Institute for 150 young students and 80 kindergarten children. We had to adapt our teaching methodology with the preparation of teaching sheets and receiving homework once a week…. Because our students don’t have computers or internet in the house. Teachers were often at risk of contagion and we had to isolate the team a couple of occasions after being in contact with covid sick students, but thank God no co-workers were infected until now.
We continue our work to improve the income of 130 Ulpán peasant families with the practice of agro-ecological agriculture and support the initial organization of 60 single women (widows, single mothers, abandoned wives, and self-describing women as „spinsters“) who are often harassed,mistreated, and sometimes raped by men in their communities in the absence of a man in their family to defend them. The health promoters attended more than 600 consultations this year and the midwives attended 97 home deliveries. CAFNIMA training of traditional midwives and health promotors took special importance amid the pandemic and the obligatory confinement in communities so isolated.
We temporarily suspended our microfinance program in June 2020. Thank God we only lost 5% of our revolving funds due to the pandemic… Our advisors visited women’s homes with necessary precautions and helped to recuperate the loans. Other organizations lost 50 to 90% of their portfolio. Our members are women who have appreciated the way CAFNIMA has worked with them for years and made an effort to repay their credits. In December we restarted microcredit work with a focus on creating new competencies and skills in our microcredit recipients.
This work has been made possible by the sacrifice and bravery of CAFNIMA’s work team. From Mardo, Armando, and our team from un Ulpán, our credit advisers and teachers who walked sometimes in fear, but with great determination in the midst of the pandemic.
I want to thank you for your support, your effort to support food distribution, the education, agriculture and health programs among the poor families of Guatemala.
We pray for your health and for this terrible test to be over for our families. We think of Rainer and hope all is well.
My family sends you a greeting and thanks for your solidarity and concern.
With great affection.