February Appeal 2017
My Dear Friends:
Happy New Year! I wish you and your family peace and prosperity in 2017.
Sharing health information with a group of adolescent sisters.
I have the same wishes for the hundreds of families we support in Central America and Mexico, as I know you do too.
It is thanks to your support and commitment that Horizons and its partners were able to accomplish so much in 2016.
In 2017, we will continue to work together to maximize human development, and bring peace and dignity to communities throughout the region.
One project, in particular, is really taking off in 2017. That is the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project in Guatemala. This four-year project, launched in Spring 2016, is bringing new hope and a better life to thousand of Indigenous women and children in Totonicapán, Guatemala.
A sign written in K’iche helps a health promoter discuss better hygiene practices with a family.
To date, more than 5,200 women have participated in 78 women’s discussion groups focusing on maternal health and best health practices. Indigenous women were eager to have a safe space to discuss health and wellness issues, and to learn and put into practice what they had learned. Discussions focused on the promotion of breastfeeding, improved nutrition, full vaccination, and early detection of danger signs in high-risk pregnancies.
This training – which you support with your dollars – means the difference between life and death for Indigenous women and newborns.
I recently visited Guatemala, and saw the project - which is spearheaded by our dedicated partner PIES de Occidente - in action. One day, in just over four hours, PIES health educators visited four households for follow-up visits, checked on three families, and helped a group of adolescent sisters (one of whom had a six-month old baby boy). A remarkable achievement, given the poor road conditions and great distances they had to travel.
PIES de Occidente health promoters walk long distances in the rural area of Totonicapán in order to reach women and children at risk.
Our project is the first to bring significant health services to Totonicapán’s most remote villages. One resident, a mom of four and six months pregnant with her fifth child, heard about the project through its Household Visit Campaign. She told me how happy she was to have her very first prenatal visit with a midwife, who spoke her native language of K’iche. She had had difficulty with her last pregnancy, and was committed to following the midwife’s instructions and staying alert for the danger signs explained to her.
The support of the male head of the house is a crucial element of the project. During this mom’s visit, a PIES health educator took advantage of her husband’s presence to discuss an emergency birth plan. The family home is located in a gorge, making access in and out during an obstetric emergency a challenge. Emergency birth planning with the communities and families is extremely important in order to saves lives in rural Totonicapán communities.
Horizons’ Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project in Guatemala offers a big breath of hope to the Indigenous people of Totonicapán.
It has, and will continue to, save the lives of pregnant women and infants. And now, at last, those infants are likely to survive, to grow healthy and strong because they have an essential resource: health care. Parents are discovering how to care for their children, and entire families are benefiting as a result.
There is a tremendous sense of happiness in my heart when I see the enthusiasm and hope in the Indigenous people of Totonicapán. In 2017, the project will continue to roll out, and I look forward to telling you about those exciting developments in our Spring newsletter.
Throughout 2017, we will be there, walking side by side with all the people and communities we support in Central America and Mexico. With your help, we can change dire realities into possibilities.
Won’t you contribute $50, or $100 today to help us to continue to support our friends in Guatemala and the rest of Central America and Mexico?
The investment you make does make a difference! I’ve seen it with my own eyes.