Guatemala

Photo: Ginny Lattul/Tearfund

Mario Morales is a social entrepreneur supported by Tearfund’s Inspired Individuals initiative. Combining his knowledge of environmental issues with his passion to help people fight poverty, Mario is helping transform many lives in his native Guatemala.

Mario’s most recent project is TerraCoco. This innovative scheme produces eco-friendly footwear – made from coconut shells! Mario is pictured above with some coconut raw material used in the production process.

Using environmentally friendly techniques, TerraCoco turns the shells into attractive sandals and shoes. 

The benefits are many:

  • the project employs vulnerable women and unemployed young people, providing them with income to support their families;
  • waste products are recycled and given a new purpose, meaning they’re not dumped in landfill sites or, as in many cities, strewn along streets;
  • profits made from selling the shoes will be ploughed back into other projects helping communities care for the environment and escape poverty.

Beautiful and useful

Through Mario’s creativity, otherwise worthless pieces of rubbish – coconut shells – are being turned into something beautiful and useful. And those benefiting are among the poorest people in Guatemala.

Living in the rural south of the country, these farming communities are struggling to make a living amid the rise of large, corporate farming corporations. They are also suffering from the effects of environmental damage, including soil erosion and degradation, and natural disasters such as flooding.

  • TerraCoco is a very new initiative – please lift it up in prayer. Pray for resources, and for wisdom and energy for Mario as he pushes the project forward. 
  • Pray that TerraCoco will help many individuals and communities in Guatemala, giving people skills, livelihoods and hope for the future.
  • Praise God for giving us skills such as innovation and creativity. And thank God for people like Mario, using these skills to help transform lives and build God’s kingdom.

A little history ...

Tearfund has been working in Guatemala since 1976, when the country was hit by a devastating earthquake which killed around 23,000 people and left thousands homeless.

We’re supporting three organisations assisting marginalised indigenous villages in the mountainous centre of the country.

AMI (Acción Médica Integral) San Lucas is working to improve community health, help people be ready for disasters and protecting children at risk.

Aiming to promote organisation and solidarity among Mayan indigenous communities, Asociación Vida runs sexual education, HIV, community health and medical aid programmes. Tearfund supports Asociación Vida in speaking out about improving  indigenous people’s access to healthcare and addressing corruption in hospitals, where medicines are often in short supply.

Centro Esdras provides pastoral and leadership training for churches. The training includes elements not usually featured in theological seminaries, such as the biblical mandate for churches to transform their communities and tackle social, political and environmental problems as part of their service to God.

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