Sharon Smart, Co-Founder & Director

Sharon came to Guatemala in 1986 as a buyer for an ethnic store in Canada. She fell in love with the textiles, the colors, and the people of Guatemala. Eventually, she opened her own business exporting handcrafts to Australia. Working closely with indigenous people, she saw the incredible hardships they faced.

After the devastation of the Sololá area in 2005, she joined forces with her husband Dwight and good friend Patti Mort to provide as much help as they could, but it was obvious that there was so much more to be done. They made the decision to put all of their energies into helping, as turning away was not an option and so together, they formed their first Non Profit, Mayan Families/FundaMaya. In December 2018 they resigned from Mayan Families. In 2019 they Co-Founded Guatemalan Hearts working with the US Charity, Action Alliance International Inc, a registered 501.c.3 Non Profit.
Sharon and Dwight are the proud parents of 2 beautiful daughters Zoe and Aleeya adopted from guatemala.

 

 

Dwight Mara,  President

Dwight Mara began travelling through Central America in 1987. He backpacked through the Darien Gap in Southern Panama into Northern Colombia before heading back north and becoming enamored with the country of Guatemala in 1988. It was in Guatemala that he met his future wife, Sharon, and in 2005, they co-founded their first Charity, Mayan Families. In 2019 they Co-Founded Guatemalan Hearts working with the NGO Charity Action Alliance International Inc.

“Years ago, this began as a dream of ours. We just wanted to help. We saw the suffering, we saw the great need, and we could not ignore it. We knew that we could make a positive difference – a generational difference – and that is how we started.”

 

 

Julio Coroxon, General Manager

 

Julio a kaqchikel speaking Indigenous Mayan has been with the organization since the very beginning, when FundaMaya was just an idea. He continues to help FundaMaya support children and families of the region every day. Julio grew up in San Jorge and Panajachel, son of a single mother where he witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of extreme poverty. Julio started working at a very young age of 7 years old. He was fortunate to be sponsored to go to school and graduated in a degree in Accountancy. Julio can speak Kaqchikel, Spanish and basic English.

 

Maria Gloria Chiroy, Co-Founder & Program Administrator

Gloria’s deep rooted knowledge, experience and connection in the communities where FundaMaya works is vital to the success of our programs. Gloria is a kaqchikel speaking Indigenous Mayan woman, she understands the lives of the families we work with. She grew up with a family of 8 children with very low income and she understands the struggles families have to provide food,education and medical care for their children. Gloria met co-founder Sharon Smart in 1989 through her textile work. Together, Sharon and Gloria began to help women and families around the lake. Gloria strongly believes in working hard each day to help families move forward. This became the basis for the work of FundaMaya.

 

 

Sandra Chiroy, Co-Founder & Education Program Director

Sandra believes education truly can change a person’s life. At the age of five, she was one of the first students sponsored by the founders of FundaMaya before the organization was even officially founded. Sandra is a mother of 2 childrenThanks to her hard work and a sponsorship from FundaMaya, she obtained a Masters in Social Work in 2014. Sandra is an indigenous Kaqchikel speaking Mayan Woman, and speaks Kaqchikel, Spanish and basic English.

 

 

Brenda Lety Chiroy, Family aid coordinator

 

In 2005, Lety a kaqchikel speaking Indigenous Mayan women started working with FundaMaya. We quickly realized that sponsoring a child to go to school was not enough. There are many reasons why a child could not succeed in school,  lack of food, medical care and clean drinking water but all reasons why a child would not be able to function at school. Lety who is a Social Worker finishing her Masters degree in Social Work took the management of the Family Aid program. She became the Family Aid coordinator Director in 2009 since then under Lety’s management the Family Aid program has grown to include Elderly care, Medical care, Children in critical need and providing food, clothing, furniture and many other items sent by their sponsors.

 

 

Juan Buch, Construction Program Manager

 

Just like Julio and Gloria, Juan has been with the organization since the very beginning. Juan’s strong ties with the communities that we work in have been crucial in creating partnerships and trust with community leaders. Juan is an indigenous Kaqchikel speaking Mayan. Juan has worked in the FundaMaya construction program since it started. He has overseen the construction of houses, preschools, community centers and schools.

 

 

Lucky, Director of Preschools

 

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Zoe Mara Smart, Donor Relations & Translator

Dwight Mara began travelling through Central America in 1987. He backpacked through the Darien Gap in Southern Panama into Northern Colombia before heading back north and becoming enamored with the country of Guatemala in 1988. It was in Guatemala that he met his future wife, Sharon, and in 2005, they co-founded their first Charity, Mayan Families. In 2019 they Co-Founded Guatemalan Hearts working with the NGO Charity Action Alliance International Inc.

“Years ago, this began as a dream of ours. We just wanted to help. We saw the suffering, we saw the great need, and we could not ignore it. We knew that we could make a positive difference – a generational difference – and that is how we started.”

FundaMaya, partnering with

Action Alliance International Inc.

312 Julia Ln, Euless TX 76040

1-619-202-0090

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