The San Antonio Palopó Community, Lake Atitlán, located in the highlands of Guatemala, is a place of incredible beauty, edged by volcanoes and surrounded by small picturesque Mayan villages. Enter one of these villages, however, and you find communities of people trying to eke out a living in very difficult circumstances. For the past several years, the ICO San Antonio team has been working in San Antonio Palopó, on the west side of the lake, and in neighbouring villages and hamlets--in particular, Santa Catarina Palopó.
A Bit of Background:
Almost 20 years ago, artist Jacqueline Mealing started working with a small group of traditional women weavers, helping them to adapt their weaving techniques to create beautiful scarves that they could sell to tourists. Since then, Jacqueline has returned to San Antonio almost every year, and others of us have joined her.
In 2007, we became part of InnovativeCommunities.Org Foundation (ICO); we are delighted to be able to work with like-minded folk and share our experiences with those working in other world communities. Because we receive administrative assistance from ICO, and because those of us who go to Guatemala to work as volunteers pay our own fare and living expenses, every penny that is donated goes straight to the communities in Guatemala.
Our Mission Statement:
To support and work with indigenous leaders in Mayan communities around Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, in particular San Antonio Palopó and Santa Catarina Palopó, to improve the quality of life in the areas of health, education, and economic, social and environmental development.
What’s Happening in San Antonio?
Our approach is to work very closely with community groups–women’s groups, teachers, health clinic workers, the Municipality–to help identify the initiatives that would most benefit the community. Below is a video highlighting the current initiatives in the San Antonio community: