Primeros Pasos

In the summer of 2017, Reena Goswami volunteered at Primeros Pasos, a clinic that provides health education and health services to the Palajunoj Valley in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The population in the area is predominantly indigenous Maya Quiche, and as of a result of systemic oppression, is often overlooked by the government and lacks reliable access to medical care.

The primary development project she worked on during her time at Primeros Pasos was the Huipil SOAP Project. Through this project, she worked with local women to create artistic tags that represent their community to them and sell bars of soap with these tags. All proceeds go towards paying the women and installing liquid soap dispensers in local schools, to hinder the spread of bacterial and parasitic infections.

She also worked closely with the education program at Primeros Pasos. The clinic runs a Healthy Schools Program, where it provides preventative health lessons to primary school students in neighboring communities. The content varies by grade, but covers a variety of topics – including hygiene, nutrition, self-esteem, values, reproductive health, puberty and respect for the environment.