Nim Ja, Health Clinic, Women and Children's Health Development Programs, Kaman, and The Farm
La Natividad commits itself to meeting unmet needs in their community--similar to College Church's commitment to Social Ministries. La Natividad provides quality educuation and access to healthcare for their parish community and the larger community of Santa Maria Chiquimula.
College Church financially supports Nim Ja, the Health Clinic, and the Women and Children's Health Development Program. In addition to these 3 programs, La Natividad also has a Fe y Alegria school, Myrna Mack, which offers education for bascio (preschool-3) and primary grades (3-5). Nim Ja offers education for middle school aged children (6-8), Kiche Research Center, Kamam, and a Farm.
Nim Ja is the secondary school and boarding school for La Natividad. Nim Ja focuses on providing students with a holistic education complimented with vocational training.
The education at Nim Ja consists of Math, Literature, Religion, Spanish, English, Kiche, Geography/Social Studies, Science, Music, Dance, and Computer and Audiovisual. It also includes the farm school where students learn agricultural skills and participate in vocational training in welding, carpentry, and cooking.
College Church's financial support allows La Natividad to employ certified teachers offsetting the cost of education for the students. It is difficult to maintain certified teachers because other schools in larger towns and cities offer competitive salary. Our support allows La Natividad to compete with employing certfied teachers to offer quality, hoslitic education to the students. Without College Church's financial support, La Natividad would not be able to offer the level of education they currently provide.
La Natividad operates the only health clinic that speaks Kiche. Their health clinic is the only clinic within a 1 hour radius of Santa Maria Chiquimula. The staff comprises a full-time certified nurse (similar to a nurse practitioner), a full-time pharmacist, and a part-time doctor who comes to see patients two days per week.
The health clinic offers basic health care and tests (i.e. blood tests) and a small pharmacy.
College Church's financial support allows La Natividad to employ a highly qualified, full time certified nurse and support of some their other costs to operate the clinic. This allows the health clinic to operate 6 days a week and offer health care to the parish community and Santa Maria Chiquimula community that would otherwise be a minimum of an hour away.
Women and Children's Health
The health development program serves expectant women, mothers, children, and women widows in the surrounding 37 communities. The health team--Nurse, Pharmacist, and staff assistant, travel to 2-3 communities 3 days a week. They visit each community one time a month. During these visit, they weigh the children, measure their height, and growth, and offer educational programs on various topics related to caring for infants, children, and healthcare needs. For example, they educate on dental hygiene, bathing, and nutrition. As part of this program, the women are able to receive nutritional food and supplements at a subsidized cost. A typical food package includes rice, canned salmon, beans, dry nutritional milk, and other nutritional supplements. This program allows families who live in the rural highland areas access health care and health development as well as nutritional food and supplements. Most communities are at a minimum 45 minutes away from town by car in the mountains.
Myrna Mack is the primary school at La Natividad. It serves children from preschool through fifth grade. Since Myrna Mack is a Fe y Alegria school there are no school fees for the parents. The government pays the teachers salaries. For 20 years, La Natividad does not have to financially own or maintain the grounds, allowing time for La Natividad to prepare to assume the financial responsibility. They are able to offer quality, private education in a rural area.
Myrna Mack was a woman committed to the rights of the Guatemala people during the war. She had strong relationships with the Jesuits and was eventually killed.
To learn more about the Myrna Mack Foundation, click here
To learn more about Myrna Mack, click here
The Kamam is a reserach center that focuses on Kiche translation as well as preseving Kiche language and stories. The staff translate the Bible and other liturgical passages into Kiche. They also research and record mythological stories and teach Kiche as part of the school program. Kiche language is part of the Mayan language family. It is the second-most widely spoke language in Guatemala after Spanish. In the Central Highlands of Guatemala, where La Natividad is, majority of the population speaks Kiche as primary language.
La Natividad collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Livestock office in Santa Maria Chiquimula to provide educational and training opportunities for parishioners and community members. They engage children, adults from the Christian Based Communities, and outside groups. In each community, there is a group of representatives reponsible for the local vegetable gardens. Once a month, La Natividad hosts education and training classes for people to come together to share best practices in agriculture, food, and livestock. They learn about agricultural methods and how to improve production and yields.