On this Giving Tuesday, as we embrace the spirit of the season at Tu’ik Ruch' Lew (TRL), we find common ground with the essence of sharing—sharing paths, sharing hopes, and sharing experiences. In this final newsletter of "Gifts that Keep Giving," we invite you into the heart of our journey, celebrating triumphs and acknowledging challenges that have marked our 2023.
A Year in Reflection: Challenges and Triumphs
We began this year with a bold goal — to install 200 stoves in homes, providing warmth, sustainability, and a step towards a healthier environment. However, Nature had its own plans. Unfavorable weather conditions affected crops, and families, already grappling with decreased income amid growing inflation, found it challenging to meet the symbolic donation of $45.00 to the stove program to pay it forward.
The challenges deepened with the political climate. Over 140 points on the country's roads were blocked for more than 20 days. These blockades disrupted the crucial flow of goods, particularly agricultural products, leaving local producers in distress. A few days into the protests, the indigenous authorities guaranteed passage for local vendors, recognizing the small farmers' struggle. Still, for families living hand to mouth, even a brief disruption means a lot.
Responding to Adversity: TRL's
Commitment to Community
Our concern for the community deepened as we grappled with the thought of stoves in storage, waiting to bring warmth to homes, while families struggled to afford them. Thanks to the TRL team’s familiarity with our beneficiaries, Isa and Candelaria, who are deeply connected within the community, we were able to devise several approaches. First, families who had successfully completed the stove adoption process and have maintained their stove received the reward of a reduced price on a stove for another family member.
In other cases, we knew families who had expressed their desire to join the TRL stove program, but who lacked the means for any donation level. Candelaria and Isa identified families in special need and, after obtaining their firm commitment to proper stove usage and maintenance, TRL donated the stove without requiring the usual buy-in.
Finally, for those dedicated, long-time beneficiaries whose stoves were nearing the end of their useful life, we extended the opportunity for a discounted replacement.
The results were remarkable! Grateful families, inspired by the kindness and commitment of TRL, eagerly approached us for stoves, immediately wanting to join the program's education program. Our team worked tirelessly, installing multiple stoves week after week, driven by the knowledge that they were improving the quality of life for these families.
Celebrating Success: TRL's Year -End
We are delighted to share that we are on track to achieve our 2023 goal. While the last installations will spill into January due to logistical considerations and the holiday season, we are thrilled with the community’s response to our ability to quickly pivot to overcome the economic and related challenges of this past year in the highlands of Guatemala.
Nevertheless, with the reduction in community stove donations comes a reduction in our financial resources. The community funds we receive are used primarily to cover the stove education program. Without these donations, we need your support more than ever. Your donations not only bring warmth and joy to hundreds of families, but also help us preserve the environment they call home.
This Giving Tuesday, your contributions will be matched, amplifying the reach of your generosity. Let's come together to spread warmth and hope this holiday season.
Thank you for being an integral part of the TRL family. Your support means the world to us and the families we serve.
Maria Teresa Puac V.