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What Is Konojel?

Konojel is registered as a non-profit organization in Guatemala and is located in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlan.

Our mission is to reduce chronic malnutrition and endemic poverty in San Marcos. We are strengthening the most at-risk individuals in San Marcos la Laguna through programs targeting nutrition, education, and empowerment.

Konojel is a program of the All Together Foundation, a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in the United States.

Who We Are

We’re proud to be a grassroots organization that has been growing steadily since 2011. Konojel’s programs are run by indigenous managers, with administrative assistance from others. We have partnered with organizations around the world to address chronic malnutrition and poverty.

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.

HOW WE HELP

Why We Help

  • Guatemala has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest rate of malnutrition in Latin America.
  • Seven out of ten children suffer from malnutrition in Guatemala’s indigenous communities.
  • 40% of San Marcos natives are living on less than $2 per day, per household, according to the World Bank. Poverty permeates every aspect of their lives, including their physical stature, their nutritional, physical, and dental health. Impacts include high rates of unwanted pregnancy, reduced opportunity for adequate employment, and more.

Our Story

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. Over the years, Konojel has grown to include programs in children’s education, sustainability, and women’s empowerment.

NUTRITION

Nutrition Workshops

Konojel provides a platform through which organizations and local presenters can 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 on healthy eating habits. Our partnership with MAGA brings further hands-on training in nutrition for those involved in the Daily Lunch Program.

Daily Lunch Program

The Konojel Community Center provides a hearty vegetarian lunch every weekday to the most at-risk individuals in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. Konojel’s Lunch Program works to strengthen and stabilize the weakest members of an impoverished community.

The food served at Konojel represents a significant improvement in the diet of our recipients, which include children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and elders who are often overlooked at home when food is scarce. The menu includes fresh vegetables, proteins, superfoods, and many other components of a balanced diet.

EDUCATION

Computer Center

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 a way for children to complete school assignments, as well as a place for both adults and kids to access additional information, tools, and resources to expand their educations and
improve their skills.

The computer center is generously hosted at Blind Lemon’s by our good friend and long time supporter, Carlos.

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 their elementary school years – tailoring learning opportunities to the developmental needs of individuals.

EMPOWERMENT

Nutrition Center & Job Training Program

Konojel Community Center feeds around 60 of the most malnourished members of San Marcos, five days a week. We do this by employing local women, often the mothers of recipients, in our job training program.

Under the watchful eye of Maria, these women, many of whom have never had the experience of working outside of their homes, gain the skills to work in a fast paced, high standards food service environment.

Numerous women have graduated the program and gone on to work in restaurants around town. The hungry are fed. Jobs are created. Skills are developed. Everyone wins!

Women’s Cooperative

Konojel oversees a collective of local indigenous women who run and operate their own micro-business. This micro-business provides a source of income to its members who plan, produce, and distribute their own product line, which includes 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.

Their products are available for sale at the Konojel Restaurant (300 meters up the main path from the San Marcos municipal dock, on the left hand side, across the path from Cafe Circles), as well as in other shops around town, or buy online and support their microbusiness that way. Please stop in when you are in town!

DONATE | VOLUNTEER

VOLUNTEER WITH KONOJEL

Join the Konojel Team and support our mission! We have multiple volunteer opportunities available, and would love to chat with you.

The Konojel Team

EXECUTIVE STAFF

INGRID PAREDES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MARIA MEJIA

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

PROGRAM MANAGERS

LAURA
ANGELINA
MELVIN

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.

  • info@konojel.org
  • 347-526-1767
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala
  • Visit our new Comedor: 300 meters up the main path from the municipal dock, on the left hand side, across the path from Cafe Circles.