Before IPA arrived, most of the Indigenous villagers were only averaging three years of education. Secondary schools in many cases were miles away, requiring students to walk long distances, 1.5 to 2 hours each way to school.
IPA has now built 6 secondary schools with more on the drawing board. Our secondary school participation has grown from close to zero to 450 students in our Adopt-a-Dream program.
In tackling water needs, we find it's important to clear up any sanitation issues, as water and sanitation are codependent.
IPA has handled sanitation needs at the school level, by installing girls' and boys' latrines for the student population. We have also reached out to entire villages and installed latrines for homes to assure water safety and proper sewage disposal-
Food security is a serious challenge in the Mayan villages. Because corn and beans are harvested during certain times of the year, selling such crops after picking them assures that low prices are attained, as there is a glut on the market. By storing crops in safe silos free of pests, families can hold supplies for personal use and sell excess crops when the cash market is stronger.
Here is a picture of a footbridge built by a team from IPA, so that students don't have to wade through a river to get to school during heavy rains. We have other similar bridges in planning and implementation.
We’re also about to build a new road to a village where access currently requires fording the main Copán River. During heavy rains, the river floods and the village is cut off.
Most villagers use open wood fires in the home for both heat and cooking. The smoke causes health problems, and the resulting deforestation causes ground erosion. During the rainy season good topsoil is washed away and mud slides are common.
By providing villagers with “Eco Stoves” we have virtually eliminated smoke in the home and cut the firewood consumption in half. Our stoves are built in Copán and have been distributed to several villages.