There are two initives in Guatmala, both programs of Rose Charities Canada
Safe Motherhood Project
The Safe Motherhood Project is an educational program to train traditional Mayan midwives ( Camadronas) in safe birthing techniques and emergency skills in caring for women who have their babies at home. Rose Canada suppors a team of 3 skilled Guatemalan midwives who do the bulk of the teaching using a hands-on approach. 5 day courses are conducted, training 30 camadronas or paramedics. The course has been very well received and each year there are more communities requesting the course. So far over 15 villages have been teaching bases. The Canadian team (founded and organized from Salmon Arm, B.C. by RN Anne Borkent and Dr Ruth Brighouse) visits once a year ( at their own expense) to provide refresher courses and monitor the project.
The inortance of this program is that high maternal mortality is a concern for the Mayan women of Guatemala. Hemorrhage, high blood pressure and eclampsia, and infection are the major causes of death of women in childbirth. Seventy percent of Mayan women give birth at home under the care of a traditional midwife, who in many cases has had no formal education or training. In these rural highlands, the closest hospital is often several hours away. Evidence shows that outcomes for pregnant women are better if they are assisted by skilled attendants during childbirth. This is why the course is vital to helping decrease the number of maternal deaths in rural Guatemala.
Our future vision is to continue with the training of traditional midwives, as well as to further train others to teach our course. This course not only teaches skills but also empowers marginalized women. Public health clinics and hospitals are also included to enhance communication between health care professionals and traditional midwives, with very positive results. The project is supported by local government.
Mayan Health and Education
Before the school opened in 2005, children in the remote Mayan village, Huixoc, in Guatemala had no chance of education beyond Grade 6 Since then over 225 children have graduated Junior High. Several have gone on to High School , the first in this community to do so. The School is entirely supported by donations from Canada
The Mayan Health and Education Project began in 2000 founded by Dr Ellen Coburn of Canada, and is a people-to-people project to help the Maya of Guatemala in their struggle against poverty. Medical missions have been visiting a rural community in the Guatemalan highlands since 2002 to provide medical aid, disease prevention education and nutritional supplementation to Huixoc and its neighboring villages.
In 2005, a junior high school was established which now graduates up to thirty students from grade 9 every year. The project has introduced computers and internet access to the village. Work is now going on with the community to build a computer lab. Future plans include buying some land to build a proper school/community center for the village.