From Our Press Room

January 3, 2023

Saving Lives of Children in Guatemala

By: Skip McCowan

February through April of this year, concrete floors and stoves will be installed in 50 homes in the village of Chalalajya, Guatemala. The project will profoundly affect the health, safety, life expectancy, and well-being of hundreds.


The effort is spearheaded by the Rotary Clubs of Lamorinda Sunrise and Vista Hermosa (based in Guatemala City). The project is also financially supported by a Rotary District 5160 grant and 14 Rotary clubs – 13 in Northern California and one in the State of Washington.


Nearly one in two Guatemalan children under five are malnourished, leading to a high mortality rate. The causes of this high rate include anemia, diarrhea, and other GI diseases. Dirt floors are the major contributing factor to these diseases. A study of the impact of replacing a dirt floor with concrete has shown a 78% reduction in parasitic infestations, a 49% reduction in diarrhea, an 81% reduction in anemia, and an increase in cognitive development.


Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death in children under five. Cooking over an open fire is the equivalent of smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. Open fires burn untold numbers of children. Each family will help build a safe and efficient StoveTeam International stove that will be vented outside the house. It will produce only 14% of the carbon monoxide produced by an open fire.


Join us when we travel to Guatemala between March 25 and April 1 to see the project in action, meet the people of Chalalajya, visit Mayan ruins and Lake Atitlan, and get to know Guatemalan Rotarians in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Antigua. For information, please contact Skip McCowan at [email protected]

Mayan Ruins at Iximche

Lake Atitlan

The Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua