Magdalena Simaj Family – ADISA

Magdalena (45), her husband Juan (54), their six children Diego (22), Mercedes (18), Juan (16), Miguel (13), Paulina (9),María (5) and two daughters in law are the proud owners of a new Habitat home in the community of Tzanchaj, Santiago Atitlán, Sololá.  The family prepares and sells meals.

With the support of Hope and Healing, Habitat Canada, ADISA and Habitat Guatemala, the family received a new home, a smokeless stove, a bathroom and a water filter. This helps them improve their living conditions by giving them a safe home with access to proper sanitation and a smokeless free environment. These solutions have significantly improved their lives as Magdalena shares that the family used to live in a one-room house built from cornstalks, a dirt floor and a roof made from metal corrugated sheets for over 15 years. When the family found out about this project, they were motivated to participate and actively helped with the construction process for an improved quality of life.

When asked how they feel with their new house, Magdalena responds smiling, ”We feel happy and satisfied with our house! Mercedes is happy with her room. As a family we struggled a lot to get the house done, but we did it as a family. Now, the reward is great!”

Regarding their stove, Magdalena shares that she used to cook over an open flame on the floor, which caused red eyes and respiratory diseases. “Since I was born, we have been used to cooking on the floor. I have never had the opportunity to own a stove until now,” says Magdalena. The family says that with the new stove, they now have enough space to cook everything at the same time, the save money as it consumes less wood and, most importantly, there is no more smoke in their kitchen! The family has also reported life improvements with their water filter. Before they had to boil water or consume it directly from the sink, causing frequent intestinal diseases. With the filter, they have easy access to safe drinking water.

When asked which part they like the most about the house, she answers, “Everything! We enjoy every part of it; the rooms, the bathroom and the stove too!”

18 year old Mercedes receives capacity training workshops from ADISA that are designed to create economic opportunities and break barriers for people living with a disability fight barriers so that can be active individuals in their community. When asked what she wants to do, Mercedes answers: “I would like to work in an office as a an executive. I would also like to sell beauty products .” The family works together to improve women’s rights and the rights of people living with disabilities in their community.

They share this this final message with our donors, “As a family we feel very grateful for this gift. We do not have enough money to pay you back, but we pray to God that he will keep all of you safe. Thank you!”