January was the inauguration of Riecken Foundation’s first business center located in San Juan la Laguna. The family income in San Juan la Laguna is very low. Beyond the coffee harvest period it is estimated that the monthly income generated from farming activities is between $40 and $65. Very few families have a monthly income of US $125 or more, and the ones that do have to dedicate to several different activities.
According to the poverty map in Guatemala, San Juan la Laguna has high percentages of poverty and extreme poverty, at 80.9% and 38.1% respectively. The trade of local handcrafts, agricultural products and the promotion of tourism are the major income generating activities in the community. In order to manage them in more efficient and profitable ways, small entrepreneurs need to have access to resources, advice and training.
The business center will provide the community with a place to access information and technology and build skills essential to the success of their businesses. A local organization that teaches seminars and workshops on different entrepreneurial topics will support the business center with their expertise. A group of women weavers are already hard at work learning how to use the internet, email and soon a blog to market their craft! It is a very exciting project that the BFB Foundation is proud to be a part of. If you’d like to learn more about the Riecken Foundation and their work, log on to www.Riecken.org