About Us

Helping indigenous families in rural Guatemala...one child at a time; one familiy at a time.

Mayan Families Canada is a charitable organization co-founded by Robin Pawliuk and her daughter, Leigh. Robin is a retired high school teacher on Vancouver Island, BC and Leigh is pursuing her humanitarian focus and working in the non-profit sector.

After several trips to Guatemala, they discovered a huge need in many of the indigenous Mayan families for basic necessities such as clothing, schooling, and housing. They have concentrated their humanitarian efforts in rural communities in the Lake Atitlan area.

Also part of the Mayan Families Canada team are Robin's husband, David Pawliuk and Leigh's husband, Tyler Born. Finding time from his busy geology career is not easy, but David takes care of the organization's finances as well as spear-heading several projects, such as the pop bottle lights which are a very effective means of lighting up our families' homes.


Tyler, an electrical engineer from Edmonton, is our principal information technologist, creating and maintaining the website, newsletters, student database and other online functions. Both Tyler and David visit Guatemala with the volunteers and assist with their humanitarian activities.

Also working with Mayan Families Canada are Lynne Murray, a teacher, and her lawyer husband, David Perry. Lynne and Dave are coordinating the purchase of Guatemalan crafts and their subsequent sale at craft fairs around B.C. and other provinces. Lynne also coordinates the Crayon and Sewing Projects that volunteers, Guatemalan pre-schoolers and Guatemalan women participate in during our annual trips. They also help to coordinate other important fundraisers for the organization. Lynne and David live in Parksville and join the Mayan Families Canada team in Guatemala every other year.

Mayan Families Canada fundraises to provide enough money to implement their many projects in Guatemala. These include purchasing emergency food for needy families, installing safe and fuel-efficient stoves in homes, undertaking home repairs and rebuilds, sponsoring children to go to school, and building a women's center. Each year, Mayan Families Canada takes volunteers down to Guatemala to take part in these projects and to distribute suitcases full of items donated by generous Canadians.

Mayan Families Canada works in conjunction with Mayan Families, a Guatemalan organization based in Panajachel. Individuals in this organization have lived and been involved with the indigenous community in Guatemala for many years and are able to respond in a personal way to the immediate and actual needs of this community. They provide great insight and direction into the projects that are undertaken by Mayan Families Canada. Please visit their website:

www.mayanfamilies.org