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The charity Amigos de Santa Cruz aims to help young women like these in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala
Santa Cruz La Laguna is a small Mayan community on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. It has no road access and is surrounded by jagged mountains; the only way to get there is by boat. The community is believed by the Guatemalan government to be one of the 45 poorest townships in all of Guatemala with illiteracy and malnutrition among the highest in the country.
Amigos de Santa Cruz is a small charity established by a small group of foreign residents in 1998. The main focus is on the education of the residents, both primary and secondary, in order to help develop a literate community who are better educated and able to improve their own lifestyles and future.
The education projects provide books and other supplies for the primary school along with a daily nutritional snack for the 400 children. They also run after-school programmes for children with special needs.
There is a computer education centre which provides access to educational resources and opens up communication with students from other cultures and parts of the world.
The health projects provide the local community with clinical care and an immunization programme for the children. The volunteers give talks in the school on hygiene and work alongside their sister organisation ‘Feed the Dream’ in supplying a nutritional snack, daily vitamins and daily tooth brushing for the children. They have built two new bathrooms for the school of 400 pupils.
Amigos also helps to distribute water filters to the community as a whole. These are easy to use and cheap to run and provide families with clean drinking water. Since the start of this in 2006 the number of intestinal illnesses such as diarrhoea and parasites has reduced dramatically.
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