St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church and The CPR-Sierra's



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About the Guatemala Project


St. Michael's Guatemala Project is an informal, non-sectarian partnership begun in 1993 with the CPR-Sierra, at a time when the communities were still blockaded by the Guatemalan army. During an evolving relationship, the Project has affirmed the CPR quest for recognition as peaceful indigenous peoples, for dignity, and for land, working directly with community and elected leaders. Partnership areas include health and health education; delivery of basic medicines and supplies identified by the CPR; advocacy; and the arts and culture. Emphasis is upon mutuality, cultural exchange, and indigenous self-determination.

During its first decade, the Project offered support for CPR health structures, delivered 4-wheel drive vehicles and supplies, brought CPR leaders to the U.S., and arranged for a display of handmade crosses "A Nuestros Mrtires" at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia, where it won "best of show."

Since late in 1998, a "Health Project," evolved with the CPR-Sierra leadership and refined in subsequent extended visits, has encouraged primary health-care delivery and continued health worker education by making small incentive payments, based on skill level and participation in periodic off-site training, to Mayan health workers who serve their communities as volunteers.

As funds permit, the Project also assists with purchase of essential medicines and basic medical supplies. It has played a crucial role in funding emergency travel from remote communities for gravely ill patients. Project administration is through the CPR's elected leaders, assuring oversight and strengthening local stuctures.

By 2001, the Project was assisting 24 local health workers in 14 of 19 scattered CPR communities. By 2006, the number had grown to 30 health promoters.

Support has come from St. Michael's, the Tucson community in general, Denver Justice and Peace Committee, other solidarity groups, and grants from the national Episcopal Church and Arizona Diocese. Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital and WorldCare have offered generous help with medicines and supplies which Project teams courier to Guatemala.