‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care’.
- Article 25, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly, 1948.
Everybody should have access to adequate health care services and education. This was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of our most fundamental entitlements and is the bedrock of a dignified life. However, many people in Guatemala struggle to provide their families with basic requirements, such as nutritious food and clean water. Poverty rates in Guatemala exceed 70%. Much of this poverty is concentrated in the indigenous Mayan communities, who account for nearly half of the population.
Although health care is provided by the Guatemalan government, there is an extreme lack of funding which means that health care services are understaffed and under-resourced. The ratio of doctors to residents in Guatemala is low, at 0.9 doctors per 1000 citizens. Essential supplies, vaccines and medications are often not available. This has the greatest impact on low-income families who cannot afford to pay for private health care. Many indigenous communities also struggle to access the services that are available due to language barriers or cultural restrictions. As a result, there is a significant level of inequality in the provision of health care in Guatemala.
There are various figures that demonstrate this stark reality. For instance, approximately 49% of children in Guatemala are chronically malnourished. This is the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world. In Mayan communities, the malnutrition rate is closer to 70%. Malnutrition stunts a child’s growth and development, and prevents them from reaching their true potential. Guatemala
also has a high incidence of maternal and infant mortality. This is 70% higher among indigenous children than their non-indigenous counterparts. Furthermore, there is a high prevalence of diabetes and heart disease, which contributes to a reduced life expectancy. Again, this is most marked in indigenous communities, with a life expectancy that is 13-years less than non-indigenous communities in Guatemala.
In this context, Trama Textiles are working to establish a fund called the Almaya Fund. Our goal is to support the provision of health care services and health-related education to members of the Trama Textiles cooperative to improve health outcomes and to end the cycle of poverty in their communities. We will also work to support the development of education and professional development initiatives among these communities.
Due to the current global situation, our immediate priorities for the program have turned to crisis relief. But, as the World regathers itself over the next coming months, we'll be bringing you updates on the new program and how we will be supporting families with essential health and education needs.
If you would like to get involved or find out more about the Almaya Fund, or about our other programs and initiatives, you can:
- Sign up for our monthly newsletter
- Consider making a direct donation
Volunteer with us – due to coronavirus social distancing regulations, all of our volunteers are now working from home. We would be delighted to accept volunteers from all corners of the world! (link to contact forum)