What Is Konojel
Konojel means “All Together” in Kaqchikel, the Mayan dialect spoken in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. That’s exactly our goal– bring people together to do incredible things. We firmly believe that we are more powerful when we come together for a common purpose.
Who We Are
A grassroots organization that has been growing steadily since 2011, Konojel is directed by foreigners, run by locals, and our partnerships span across the globe. We are a group of individuals working to improve conditions and standards of living in our community because we are willing and able to dedicate the time, energy and resources necessary to make a sustained and positive impact on the lives of people living in extreme poverty and institutionalized oppression. We approach our work and the people who are impacted by our work with the utmost respect, humility, and empathy.
History of Konojel
We opened our doors in September 2011 and began by serving 60 nutritious lunches daily. A medical team diagnosed the most malnourished individuals in San Marcos, who became our first group of lunch recipients. To this day, beneficiaries of the lunch program are selected based on nutritional need and screened through a team of indigenous and medical personnel. Our initiatives target the most at-risk demographics within the indigenous population, including children, pregnant or nursing mothers, and neglected elderly citizens. Since our beginning, Konojel has grown to include programs in children’s education, sustainability, and women’s empowerment.
Konojel provides a platform through which organizations and local presenters empower health, education, and nutrition for women, children, and families. Our partner JUSTA provides a series of “Comida Vida” and “Comida Vida Jr.” workshops to educate the 60 people in our lunch program. Our partnership with MAGA brings further hands-on training in nutrition for those involved in the Lunch Program.
Daily Lunch Program
Our mission to address chronic malnutrition in San Marcos La Laguna started in September of 2011. The Konojel Community Center provides a hearty vegetarian lunch every weekday to the most at-risk individuals in San Marcos La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. Konojel’s lunch program works to strengthen and stabilize the weakest members of an impoverished community in which almost 7 in 10 children suffer the effects of chronic malnutrition.
The food served at Konojel represents a tremendous improvement in the diet of those who eat there, including children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and elders who are often overlooked at home when food is scarce. The menu includes fresh vegetables, both cooked and raw in salads, proteins, superfoods, and many other components of a balanced diet.
The Konojel Computer Center program provides free internet access and printing services as well as a computer education program to the indigenous community. Free computer/internet access provides tools for children to complete school assignments, as well as a place for both adults and kids to access information, tools, and resources to expand their education and skill.
Children’s Enrichment Program
The Konojel Children’s Enrichment Program offers creative educational opportunities that nourish the hearts and minds of the children who benefit from the Konojel Lunch Program. Our dream is for each child to reach his or her full potential as valued individuals and members of the San Marcos and global communities.
For one hour each day, we engage in activities that strengthen academic and social skills while providing a space for kids to be kids. We support children through elementary school – tailoring learning opportunities to the developmental needs of individuals.
We offer English classes to indigenous adults in the San Marcos community. Our TEFL certified English teacher has created a curriculum tailored to the needs and skill levels of the students. In a tourist community, having English skills creates more value for the individual in the workplace and gives them tools to expand their education, increasing opportunities
Konojel oversees a collective of local indigenous women who run and operate their own microbusiness. This microbusiness provides a source of income to its members who plan, produce, and distribute their own product line- including textile goods and solar baked snacks. The project is designed to create employment for San Marcos indigenous residents and provide business education and skills to empower these women to continue to grow and find ways to provide for their families.
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“Coming together is the beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” - Henry Ford
In 2014 we incorporated the All Together Foundation in the Commonwealth of Virginia, solely for the purpose of facilitating tax-efficient donations to the Konojel Community Center. We are approved as a 501(c)(3) foundation by both the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (EIN 47-2522190) and the Virginia State Corporation Commission (0797962-8). Your donations are fully tax deductible.
Our Nutrition Program is our longest running program. This program provides lunch for our beneficiaries such as children and the elderly. Ideas for projects include workshops for the mother’s of the community, donating an improved ingredient, or teaching a specific skillset to our kitchen staff.
Our Children’s Enrichment Program works with 40 at-risk children, five days a week. This program highlights education in our Aftercare Program.
The Sabor del Sol women’s cooperative works with local indigenous women to grow their micro business. We provide professional developmental opportunities for our employees and beneficiaries, striving to increase employment for the women in our community.