The program was initiated in 1994 and continues the work begun by Concern America in the refugee camps in Mexico where Guatemalans sought refuge as they fled from serious repression in their country in the early 1980s during Guatemala’s civil war.
There are currently 400 health promoter practitioners, midwives, and environmental health promoters, including those receiving specialized training in women’s health and dental health and providing health care, health education, and sanitation measures to a population of approximately 180,000 people.
Each year, the community-based health care workers trained by Concern America provide (on average) 150,000 high-quality, low-cost health consults, including those in the program’s practitioner-run teaching clinic. The community health workers trained and accompanied through the program, as well as the population served by their work, are mostly campesinos (of the land) and include representatives of several Mayan ethnic groups including Q’eqchi’.
Concern America accompanies the Spoonmakers of Petén, an income-generation cooperative that produces fair trade, hand-carved, wooden kitchen utensils, enabling families to earn a steady, supplemental income.
“We have been able to meet all of our basic needs in these past few months because of this work with the spoons. Each month, we are happy because we still have this reliable source of income from the cooperative, as we complete and turn in parts of the most recent order.”
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