Groups that fight poverty to speak in Vail |

Groups that fight poverty to speak in Vail

Vail Daily staff report
Special to the Vail DailyVail events: A Central American girl collects Maya nuts, which have helped local communities find a new source of food and income that does less damage to the rain forests.

VAIL, Colorado – Two groups that aim to lift people out of poverty in the Third World will be at the Vail library in Vail, Colorado Sunday afternoon to share stories of their efforts.

The AllPeopleBeHappy foundation will bring representatives of the Equilibrium Fund and Room to Read to the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The talks, hosted by Liz and Timm Paxson, are free and open to the public.

The Equilibrium Fund is teaching women in Central America and Mexico to harvest the Maya nut for food and income. Growing the nut also encourages communities to conserve rainforest and reforest degraded land.

Fund director and agroecologist Erika Vohman, who lives in Crested Butte, will share her experiences and photos in Vail. She discovered Maya nut on a visit to Guatemala, and in 2001 started The Equilibrium Fund, which, Vohman says, has helped over 80,000 people from 650 rural villages in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

More than 500,000 Maya nut trees have been planted. For more info go to

Maya nut cookies will be served Sunday.

Room to Read’s mission is building libraries and schools while also focusing on girls’ education. The group also helps create children’s book in local languages.

John Wood founded Room to Read after trekking in Nepal and visiting schools in which he found a terrible lack of resources. He quit is executive position with Microsoft and started the organization in Nepal in 2000 and has since expanded to Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Laos and Africa.

Diana Mathias, the founder of the Vail chapter, will share her experiences, focusing particularly on Vietnam. For more info go to:

The AllPeopleBeHappy foundation was established in 2007 by the family and friends of Eric Tang following his untimely death at age 25. The foundation seeks out and funds new and innovative organizations that help people and communities improve their lives and work their way out of poverty.

The foundation has awarded grants to The Equilibrium Fund and Room to Read. For more information visit:

RSVPs to Sunday’s talks are appreciated but not necessary. Call 970-476-6764.

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