Our Guatemalan Contacts

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Paso Por Paso relies very heavily on the Mayan Families organization for its day to day activities. Mayan Families is a US based charity started by Patti Mort, Sharon Smart and Dwight Poage (above right). Their operation in Guatemala is based in Panajachel and they co-ordinate most of Paso’s activities in the Lake Atitlan area. They recommend students to sponsor, local projects Paso might want to get involved with as well as co-ordinate and carry out projects such as Tierra Linda school improvements. They also assist in the selection of micro loan recipients and  provide extensive training to the women to ensure a successful business. They are always willing to help Paso members to get involved in non-Paso activities while in Panajachel such as building houses, installing stoves or taking photographs of their activities. For more information, go to their web site www.mayanfamilies.org

Mayan Families was founded in 2005 by Patricia Mort, Sharon Smart-Poage and Dwight Poage. The organization was established initially as a support network to assist local indigenous families. However, after the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Stan, the organization’s mandate came into force. Many lives and homes were destroyed and countless people survived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The hurricane left massive needs within Panajachel and other indigenous communities surrounding Lake Atitlan. Both Sharon and Patti were committed to seeking solutions and began a massive fundraising initiative seeking support from neighbouring regions and foreign countries. Today, they carry out their own work and assist many other organizations with their efforts.