Who We Help
(Pictured above, Niños de Guatemala Pre-K class that Co-founder Nicole Bakva volunteered with.)
Ten percent of proceeds from each Alicia San Marcos purchase go directly toward Niños de Guatemala and Casa Bernabé Orphanage.
Niños de Guatemala, a nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala by providing quality education to those who need it most. They opened two primary schools, Nuestro Futuro and El Porvenir, which now serve more than three hundred Guatemalan children from low-income families. In 2015, they will further extend students' education by starting a middle school, schooling that less than 25% of Guatemalan children have access to.
Niños de Guatemala continually strives to sustain the academic, physical, and emotional well being of its students. All of the children receive two nutritionally balanced meals a day, medical and dental care, instruction on proper health and hygiene, after school programs, and access to on-site social work and psychology departments.
Meals - Incorporation of meals is extremely important to the program since half of Guatemalan children suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is the highest malnutrition rate in the Americas and fourth highest in the world. The effects of malnutrition are severe and include developmental diseases, stunted growth, and lowered IQ scores.
Health and Hygiene - One of the leading causes of death for small children in the underserved areas of Guatemala is disease caused by poor hygiene. Teaching children methods to maintain medical care, dental care, and proper hygiene mitigate the risk of diseases.
After School Programs - Not only do these programs provide additional educational support for students, they also help keep preteens and teens, who are highly targeted as recruits for gangs, off of the streets.
Sociologists and Psychologists - The sociologists and psychologists identify students within the communities at risk of discontinuing their education. They educate parents on the long-term benefits of continued education since many low income families send their children to work instead of school. They also council children through prevalent issues like physical and sexual abuse.
In order to ensure that the programs belong to the local communities, Niños de Guatemala's projects are directed and run by Guatemalan staff, which helps to create jobs and foster a sense of local ownership. Niños de Guatemala takes a comprehensive approach to creating a future generation of Guatemalans who can lift their families from poverty.
Casa Bernabé Orphanage is home to more than 135 children on a beautiful 13-acre campus near Guatemala City. All of the children come from difficult living situations. Some are orphans, others have been abandoned or abused. At Casa Bernabé Orphanage, each child receives a better life by belonging to a loving family on site, being provided with all of their basic needs, and attending school on campus. At 18, they prepare for a bright future through vocational career training or university.
Quality orphanages like Casa Bernabe are crucial in Guatemala because few exist and there are over 370,000 orphans. Contributing to the problem, the Guatemalan government banned international adoptions in 2007 because of irregularities in Guatemala’s adoption process, including child sex and organ trade. Additionally, Guatemalan children with families were stolen from them in order to be sold to adoption agencies for profits. Few children are adopted domestically leaving many starving children on the streets who are exploited physically, emotionally, and sexually. This makes orphanages an important solution to a widespread problem in Guatemala.
At Casa Bernabé Orphanage, we work directly with Yovelin, the daughter of Alicia who is the inspiration behind our company. Yovelin leads a house of 13 girls who she treats as her own. Alicia worked incredibly hard to get her children through school and we are overjoyed to now give back to Alicia’s daughter and help provide a second chance at life for all of her children.
(Pictured above, Co-founders Michelle & Nicole Bakva at Casa Bernabé Orphanage to hand deliver supplies.)
Indigenous Artisans who make our products are respected. The majority of our products are made by indigenous women, 90% of whom live in poverty in Guatemala, utilizing their strengths in fair trade working environments. Production of Alicia San Marcos products creates jobs and sustainable income for those who need it most empowering women and uplifting families from poverty.
We pay more for our products to ensure artisans are adequately compensated for their handcrafted work. This is important because only 2% of apparel companies worldwide source from suppliers that pay their workers a fair living wage and many workers are forced into unsafe working conditions. As consumers, we need to put an end to the mistreatment of workers around the world.
(Pictured above, the talented indigenous women who make our ceramic beaded clutches)
Mother Earth needs our support. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, right behind oil. The global production of textile fibers consumes 1 trillion gallons of water, 33 trillion gallons of oil, and 20 billion pounds of chemicals annually. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the United States alone (most of which is not biodegradable and releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere).
It is time to slow down with the slow fashion movement. Slow fashion focuses on producing and purchasing in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Not only fair treatment/pay and reduced emissions, but also avoiding excessive consumption by buying fewer, high quality garments instead of many disposable ones. All of our bags are handcrafted and our textile bags are made from the recycled blouses of indigenous women severely minimizing our environmental impact. The hand work that goes into each piece ensures quality that you can enjoy over a lifetime.