San Jorge la Laguna is a small village between Sololá and Panajachel, on the side of the mountains, overlooking beautiful Lake Atitlan. It is a very steep, hilly village and the communal water supply is in the middle of the village. Women and children have to carry numerous heavy loads of water on their head in plastic containers, daily, up and down the steep trails and pathways. It is time consuming and back breaking work.
The population is approximately 5,000 and entirely Indigenous. The language spoken is Kaqchikel.
Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and struggles with some of the lowest social indicators in the hemisphere. It is still suffering the effect of the 36 year old civil war that ended in 1996. It suffers from extreme income inequality — 56 percent of the population lives in poverty, one in five in extreme poverty. Infant mortality is among the worst in the region (39 per 1,000 live births), maternal mortality is extremely high (153 per 100,000 births) and chronic malnutrition remains a serious problem (49 percent)In the Department of Sololá, where San Jorge la Laguna is located, 76% of the population lives in poverty – living on less than $2 per day.
Our recent survey found that 75% of the families in San Jorge have daily incomes of about $1 per person. Most women make beaded jewelry or weave and many don't know how to read or write.
There are approximately 600 kids under two years of age in San Jorge.