Organization with Clearwater connections wins big prize

Hope of the Pokomchi, founded by Upper Clearwater residents Bill and Linda Brierly, has won a prestigious award in Guatemala

Members of the Hope of the Pokomchi and others celebrate the organization's winning of one million Quetzales (about $135

Hope of the Pokomchi (ASOSAP), a non-profit organization founded by Upper Clearwater residents Bill and Linda Brierly, has won a prestigious award in Guatemala.

The Juan Bautista Gutierrez Foundation recently announced that the organization was the winner of a contest held to give awards to groups involved in health, education and community development.

The foundation is funded by the owners of Pollo Campero, a chain of fast food chicken outlets that is the Central American equivalent of Kentucky Fried Chicken, said Linda Brierly.

Hope of the Pokomchi had applied for the prize last year but without success.

This year a committee selected the organization to make it into the final round. People in Guatemala get to vote on which application they prefer online or at the Pollo Campero restaurants over a two-week period.

The winners were announced during an awards gala held recently.

The winning application will see Hope of the Pokomchi use the money to develop eight acres of land it owns near the city of San Cristobal to house students from mountain villages wishing to further their education.

The staff at Hope of the Pokomchi have been kind of shell-shocked since the announcement, Brierly said.

The prize is much larger than the organization’s annual budget.

“This is the first major step in getting in-country funding,” she said. “It means Hope of the Pokomchi will not be so dependent on international sources.”

The publicity has already created some interesting spinoffs. For example, a major cement company has pledged to provide all the concrete they need for their projects free of charge.


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