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“The midwives provide essential care for the indigenous Maya community in the Mam-speaking area of the western highlands of Guatemala, a population of around 50,000 people. “

Project Co-ordinator: Helen Ilsley
Location: Guatemala


  • The Maya Midwives provide care to communities in remote, rural communities where few speak Spanish and have little access to medical personnel or facilities.
  •  La Vida funds basic equipment for the midwives to be able to do their work safely and effectively.

Description of Project

Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and maternal and infant mortality rates are high.   Our Maya Midwives Project provides funding for an association of 70 midwives who serve indigenous Mam communities in Guatemala.  This is essential as there is no government support for these communities, many of whom speak little or no Spanish, and are so remote they would not otherwise see a doctor or any health visitor/midwife throughout their pregnancy and birth – thus resulting in a high death rate of both mother and baby.

Working out in the rural communities is a hard vocation, most of the midwives work without electricity, running water or basic health accessories.  The midwives are wives and mothers first before being midwives and have family commitments to meet daily in addition to their work.  They all come from very modest backgrounds living in houses with dirt floors and very limited financial resources.

The midwives are trained in traditional midwifery skills which are effective, readily available and cost little.  The basic care offered by the traditional midwife such as prenatal counseling, attending normal births, and postpartum care is very good.  However, midwives lack even the most basic equipment and supplies for their work. They have no access to life saving medicines due to availability and/or cost.

La Vida helps provide equipment for these community midwives.

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