With Guatemala being the second poorest nation (after Haiti) in the Western Hemisphere, Loving Arms continually seeks income-generating initiatives to help these very needy people. This principle of self-sufficiency not only promotes independence, provides motivation, builds confidence but also helps enable them to support their own families.
There are over 13 million people in this relatively small country and over 80% live in poverty. Many try their best to get jobs but few are available. For those lucky enough to have a job, they make very little -around $5.00 per day on average. Plus, this work is not steady; they usually have to put up with working only when they are called or needed. They want to work and like to work – they just need someone to give them a chance and the resources to get started.
Loans for these communities are not only difficult to secure but also are expensive as they are charged up to 18% interest, thereby making it virtually impossible for them to make money for themselves, even if they could get a loan.
The men of the small mountain village of Parrojas met with us over a year ago to discuss the possibility of starting a Dairy Farm Pilot Program. They were more than willing to work hard ,and they were also willing to commit their resources to contribute to the costs (medicines and food), if we could assist with the cost of the cows and the stalls.
Loving Arms was able to secure funding for the pilot, and as of a month ago, it is now in place. They are extremely happy and are looking forward to not only having their farm grow but also to make cheese.
These men have the experience, the drive and determination and the skills to have a very successful, self-sustaining business – with just a little help to get started. Individually they could not have such a successful and growing farm/business; however, working together, they know they can and will. As they grow their farm, more and more families from the same community will have an opportunity to join the co-operative, if they choose to. Loving Arms will continue to support and work alongside them to help ensure their business thrives and grows to the point where they will be totally independent.
While the dairy farm offers great hope for the future, it does add extra expense to an already bare existence. The villagers have no room for extras in their budget, and unfortunately their contribution to ongoing costs for the dairy farm means they cannot afford to send all their children to school. If some of you reading this could help with their children’s school costs until the dairy farm becomes profitable by donating through Canada Helps, it would be a godsend to these hardworking villagers.