March 19, 2015

Who would’ve thought?! – Peña Blanca Updates

Living on One Dollar hit Netflix. Things went crazy!!

You truly have changed people’s lives! Directly. Profoundly.

In just 10 weeks – through your individual emails, shares, and financial support – you have spread the joy of this film with millions of people, and have raised over $195,000 for education, nutrition and health in Peña Blanca and for microfinance around the world! Directly helping Rosa, Anthony, Chino and our neighbors in the community!

Zach and I have received so many kind and heartfelt messages – and we cannot thank you enough. Your words and actions inspire us – to do more, to believe in our creativity and to be thankful. Most importantly though, we wanted to share your words with our friends in Peña Blanca – Rosa, Anthony and Chino’s families – who truly deserve them.

Rosa with letters from FB

Rosa reading the notes and letters written by you – the viewers of the film.

Rosa asked that we extend her sincerest thanks to everyone for writing and for supporting her dream of becoming a nurse financially. She has officially started nursing school and has a paid internship at the Mayan Families health clinic. She still makes the beautiful weavings on our shirts but the incredible demand has allowed us to employ 20 of her friends to help her!

If you’d like to send your own letter, please:

1. Write in Spanish or have a friend help you!
2. Scan or email to communications@mayanfamilies.org
3. Use the subject line – “Letter for Peña Blanca”

In addition to Rosa, we speak frequently to Anthony and Chino. Anthony is working hard at Hotel Katchiquel in Panajachel, but hopes to move up within the hotel or have the opportunity to excel elsewhere in Guatemala. He often considers traveling to Guatemala City for a better job, but doesn’t want to leave his family and his community. Thankfully your support has opened up more opportunities for him in terms of training and education.

Chino has grown up! Sadly he’s still not in school. He got a job offer in Guatemala City and moved there to support his family. He’s asked that we support the education of his six siblings with the money we’ve raised from the sales of the film. We are still working closely with him and our contacts in Guatemala to explore weekend school, as well as professional training programs to help him in his career.

Chino and his sister Estella

Chino and his sister Estella.

Beyond the support that has gone directly to Rosa, Anthony, Chino and specific individuals, Mayan Families is doing a full needs assessment within Peña Blanca! We never expected to raise so much money and are taking the next couple of weeks to work with all relevant parties to ensure we implement a program that can be sustainable and have the most impact. Look out for the full update soon!

Let’s keep the momentum going!

1. Watch and Rate the film on Netflix! We’re talking with Netflix trying to get shown all over the world.

2. Donate to support the community or join us for the Live Below the Line challenge and live on $1.50 a day for 5 days this April 27th – May 1st.  Gain a deeper understanding and use it to raise money for our friends in extreme poverty!