Mil Milagros was founded by Margaret Blood in 2007, as a response to Guatemala's high rate of child malnutrition and hunger, as well as the low rates of primary school completion. Mil Milagros helps locals overcome these challenges by building the capacity of mothers, grandmothers, and teachers to implement changes in their children’s schools and within their communities. Mothers and grandmothers are the key to Mil Milagros’ success. By training them to be leaders they in turn train their peers. Over the past decade, Mil Milagros has served more than 3,600 children.
PWB Photographer Rabia Khan travelled to Guatemala to document “Mil Milagros” - meaning “A Thousand Miracles” - on how they are helping the citizens of rural Guatemala. Though Khan had a general understanding of Mil Milagros’s work before her departure to South America, she would not truly understand the massive impact they have on the community until she arrived.
Upon landing in Guatemala, Khan instantly felt the warmth of both the community and the Mil Milagros staff. Khan saw a noticeable impact within the communities and schools Mil Milagros was involved with. Bu what stood out most for Khan were the stories of the children that she had met, and the impact of Mil Milagros has had on their lives.
“The story that stood out to me the most was when we were driving to a school in Santa Lucia Utatlan. I asked Carolyn how they find the schools they work with and how she got involved.
“She mentioned that a few years ago she showed up to work at the Mil Milagros offices in Panajachel (about an hour drive from the school site) and a young boy was waiting for her with his mom. He had prepared a presentation about why his school could benefit from Mil Milagros.
“He was on the student council and felt it was his responsibility to advocate for students at his school who could not concentrate on their education because they were starving,” said Khan.
“The most selfless part of his act was that he was entering middle school that next year - so even if Mil Milagros could come and feed the children at this school, it would not even effect him, because he wouldn't be attending anymore.He told Carolyn that he wanted students to come to school without worrying about what they were going to eat.
“The generosity of this child never left my mind, as well as the hard workers at Mil Milagros. Carolyn, the team and I were on our way to this school, years later, because one boy had the courage to speak up,” she added.
These are just some of the stories of the many children within Guatemala seeking aid and salvation from poverty. With their voices heard, and the help of the community as well as organizations such as Mil Milagros, they can overcome their challenges, and discover a life beyond struggle.
Click here to learn more about Mil Milagros and how you can help make a difference.