St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church held a Pork Roast dinner recently for their congregation and they invited Paso Por Paso to share their work with women and children in Guatemala. Bob Goodwin, both a director of Paso Por Paso and a member of St. Andrew’s, was instrumental in organizing this event.
Paso Por Paso is a registered non-profit organization which was originated twelve years ago by eight retired high school teachers from Orillia. Their focus is on access to education through the sponsorship of students from primary to university. Paso has also made many improvements to the Mayan village school of Tierra Linda and they support a local school nutrition program. In addition, they support Mayan women through interest free micro loans used to start small businesses; this project raises the esteem of the women and their families.
Bob Goodwin also presented on Sunday to the congregation. As a result, seven members of the congregation presented Mr. Goodwin with cheques to provide three year sponsorships for six students. This has allowed Paso to increase the sponsorship of students in Panajachel and in the remote highland school of Tierra Linda. Through the sale of Guatemalan crafts and a very generous donation, Paso was able to raise additional funds to support their initiatives in Guatemala.
Two of the new sponsors will be joining Paso directors when they travel to Guatemala in February 2018. While there, they will have the opportunity to meet their sponsored students on two occasions. The first will be when each sponsored student comes to the Mayan Families office in Panajachel to make a Valentine’s Day card for their sponsor and to receive 60 pounds of food to take home. The second will be during a home visit to meet the family. This is always a special time for the family and sponsor as they have an opportunity to discuss the educational goals of the sponsored student and well as the needs and challenges they face on a daily basis.
For more information about Paso Por Paso and to follow their activities while in Guatemala, visit our blog: pasoporpaso.wordpress.com. Information is also available on the website, pasoporpaso.ca and on the Facebook group, Paso Por Paso Orillia.