My name is Kelly, I will be 36 years old next week and as most of you know I am travelling in Guatemala the last 2 months volunteering for a fairtrade women's association, Cojolya in Santiago Atitlan.
It's been an eye opening, inspriting and empowering experience so far. I ve learned a lot, together with you we have supported a lot the women artesans and their kids with education, and now I would like to share with you another challenge for rural Guatemala, Healthcare as a non existing human right here.
It all started when I went to the pharmacy to get some antiflammatory medication for the pain in my back and the cost was crazy high that I couldn't afford it at the moment. Then, can you imagine what this does mean for the local people of Santiago?
I got to connect the dots of the puzzle asking Q and observing behaviours, realising that when the women have a pain, they don't want to go to the doctor because they can neither afford the visit nor the medication to be prescribed! The most common helath issues here are the diabetes and the artretis - muscular pain (also feel a lot of empathy here because of my personal story).
Mercedes suffers from intense pain in her elbows, Andrea faces difficulties with her lower back, Catalina has traumatized her neck and more stories, as all the artesans started working at a very young age and most of them are old now.
I just left the lake with so much love from all of them.. but with so sad feelings about that, about this inequality, about not allowing these women live in dignity. Taking the opportunity of my b-day on the 22th and as i will be away, I though it;s a good idea to support then to the extent possible making a small contribution and sending a message to them encouraging to visit the doctor and get diagnosed before it's too late!
Are you with them?
To receive significant healthcare, members of our rural community have to go to private medical centers, which, due to the economic hardships indigenous families face, doesn't become a priority until someone is gravely ill. In many cases, seeking medical treatment is left until it is too late.
The women that are part of Cojolya's Association range from 18 to 75 years old. Because they have been weaving since they were very young, they tend to struggle with arthritis, muscular pain and diabetes.
Cojolya artisans would have the opportunity to access medical care, which is a human right. In addition, they would be able to live longer, work doing something they like, and continue to be able to put food on their tables with the fair trade income that they earn from Cojolya. Artisans have worked at our association since the '80s, would help the women feel more comfortable and confident seeking care. Lastly, they would raise community awareness about the importance of tending to one's health.
How you can help when you donate:
10 euros --> A general medical consulation in the hospital (to mention the problem and get diagnosed) for 1 woman artisan
25 euros --> A special medical consultation like radiology, traumatology, blood tests etc. for 1 artisan
35 euros --> Basic medication for artretis and muscular pains of 1 women artisan for 1 month (most of them avoid the regular treatment because of the cost)
50 euros --> Basic medication for diabetes of 1 women artisan for 1 month (most of them avoid the regular treatment because of the cost)
100 euros --> Hospitalisation and overnight treatment in an emergency case (you can understand they cannot afford this at all)
The Long-Term Impact
As Maya Tz'utujil women, we want to have the equal rights we are systemically denied. Artisans form part of the 80% of indigenous Guatemalan women who are informal workers, which means no access to a social social safety net. By providing healthcare, we will improve our artisans' quality of life and offer an indigenous empowerment model for other artisan associations.
We want this community to thrive. We started with education and Health another critical step to allow the Mayan women keep weaving, preserve that precious culture and most importantly live in dignity!
Thank you being so kind, thank you for your support!
Muchas gracias! Maltiox!