• The Future of Guatemala

    The literacy rate of Guatemalans over the age of 15 is just 74% - apart from Haiti, this is the lowest literacy rate in the Western Hemisphere. And because public education is not free, attendance figures are dismal: 80% enrollment of primary-aged children, 30% of middle school-aged children, and 10% of high school students. Changing Guatemala's future means investing in the education of its youth.
  • So Much to See

    Guatemala’s colonial towns and cultural ruins attract thousands of tourists to this vibrant country every year. The country is also located in the world-wide coffee belt, turning out some of the best coffee we've ever tasted. Pick some up from your local fair-trade supplier and let us know what you think!
  • Change From the Inside Out

    With an average of 5-6 children in every family, it’s not uncommon for parents to choose which child receives an education. International experts believe that educating women is one of the best ways to improve the health of an entire country. With skills and resources to succeed, a mother will reinvest in the education of her children to create change from the inside out.
  • Too Wonderful for Words

    In a country that is defined by rich cultural tradition and stunning natural resources, there are no words that could do the beauty justice. An intoxicating richness of color, landscape, and architecture combine to inspire Guatemala. Travel there with us and you can see for yourself all of the local art and stunning scenery that combine to make this such Guatemala beautiful country.
  • Low Resources & High Hopes

    In rural and indigenous Guatemalan communities, the average family subsists off of farming and may live off as little $4 per day. In these same places, one year of secondary education can cost more than half of a family's annual income. It's no wonder that little girls like this one are lucky if they get to go to school at all.
There are places in the world that break our hearts open to the beauty and possibility of life. Guatemala is one of those places.

With a population of nearly 15 million, Guatemala is the most populated country in Central America. It is also one of the poorest. Seventy five percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 58% live in extreme poverty (World Bank). Over half the population is indigenous Maya, and the remainder is primarily of mixed European and indigenous heritage – referred to in Guatemala as Ladino.

Raw with the wounds of nearly four decades of civil war, the country is full to the brim with survivors struggling to break free from seemingly perpetual poverty. The literacy rate of Guatemalans over the age of 15 is just 74% – apart from Haiti, this is the lowest literacy rate in the Western Hemisphere. What’s more, social and cultural prejudices and barriers such as racism, gender discrimination and poverty, show up plainly in these literacy statistics: males (80%) are more likely to be able to read than females (69%), and Ladinos (82%) are better off than their indigenous peers (58%). When it comes down to it, indigenous women are the most marginalized in the country – with literacy rates of just 30% alongside high rates of poverty and poor health.

Guatemala’s low levels of literacy are the product of failing education systems and limited resources for learning. Because public education is not free in Guatemala, attendance figures are dismal: 80% enrollment of primary-aged children, 30% of middle school-aged children, and 10% of high school students. With one of the worst school systems in the Americas, outlays for enrollment fees, uniforms, and school supplies can exceed a month’s salary per child per year for the average manual laborer. It’s no wonder, then, that most Guatemalans grow up either having no relationship at all with books or associating books with drudgery and distaste.

While quality of life may be low, Guatemalan culture is alive and well. An intoxicating richness of color, landscape, and architecture combine to inspire this nation. With volcanoes, lakes, and coastal land, the country is rich with natural resources. Its colonial history and cobblestone streets give way to vibrant rainforests and winding mountain roads. Mayan temples, stunning tapestries, and delicious coffee may represent this Latin American nation, but dig a little deeper and we’ve found a population of impassioned, resourceful, and generous people making great sacrifices to create a better life for the next generation.

In this way, Guatemala exists at the intersection of need and capacity, proximity and distance. Scarred by a traumatic past, the country is looking for a better way forward. Its youth are ready to change things and its people are willing to work for it. Furthermore, Guatemala is our neighbor – it’s just far enough to feel a world away, but too close to overlook any longer. Come visit it with us. We swear you’ll never be the same.