Guatemala

Guatemala’s native Mayan populations live mostly in remote villages in mountain jungles and forests, plagued with poverty and hardship for centuries. The lush green forests contain thousands of plant species found only in the region. Sadly, the abundant environment doesn’t extend to the indigenous people of Guatemala, with almost 92% of the population living in extreme poverty in the mountainous districts, where CHOICE Humanitarian works. 

Twenty-two different and distinct Mayan languages are spoken in the rural villages of Guatemala. Language though is almost never a barrier for CHOICE Humanitarian volunteers. “You don’t need to speak the language to help dig a foundation,” said one CHOICE volunteer, “Just pick up a shovel and use it!” Digging foundations is just a small part of the impactful amazing humanitarian work taking place in Guatemala.

CHOICE has partnered with a healthcare-oriented NGO (Non-government organization) on two successive expeditions to the Polochic Valley region of Guatemala. CHOICE Humanitarian partners and volunteers taught midwifery, basic medical techniques, small business planning and English skills for teachers. Other volunteers offered treatment for a variety of medical issues including severe malnutrition. One volunteer even taught the hokey pokey to a group of village women. That’s one way to initiate a ‘cultural exchange’! (Deseret News Article)

Struggling from over 25 years of civil war, infrastructure and resources do not exist in the remote, rural areas of Guatemala. With In-Country Director, Jorge Chen Alfaro (Link to Jorge Bio) and his staff, CHOICE Humanitarian is building long-term programs to provide clean water, latrines, improved living conditions, healthcare, health worker training, and basic education for all ages. CHOICE trains villagers in sound micro-enterprise practices and strategies that can bring economic relief to individual families and entire villages.


Message from Our Choice Guatemala Director, Jorge Chen

After all these years of work in the communities high above the Polochic valley, supporting self-sustaining communities build schools, water systems, health centers, wood-saving stoves, and other educational projects, we have certainly improved the quality of life of hundreds of families. However, recently I made a stop along the way and I can see that extreme poverty still exists.  Schools are without teachers or educational material. Health centers lack the attention of highly skilled and trained personnel; they lack some of the most basic drugs and supplies. With this in mind, we have initiated a new stage to further help us eradicate extreme poverty.  We have begun to focus our efforts on the economic development of these communities, using their own resources and acquired skills, enabling them to generate wealth so that families can then afford the education and health so desperately needed in the development of their families and communities. Read More


History of CHOICE in Guatemala

Choice Humanitarian began its work in Guatemala July 9, 1992. The minutes of school records in the community of Xalibe (Municipality of Senahu and in the State of Verapaz, Guatemala) record that the “objective of the first expedition was peaceful coexistence, cultural interchange, and the construction of a school. This is to be done in a joint venture with CHOICE volunteers through community work and instruction of new construction techniques.” The minutes also record that the hope and desire of the joint effort would be for the “community to implement other similar and future projects without the direct leadership of CHOICE, but by what the community would learn as a result of this collaboration.” Read More


Meet our staff in Guatemala


# of villages worked in:

23

# of villagers impacted directly:

22,500

# of villagers impacted indirectly:

118,000


What We Do

Core Programs 

Economic Development

  • Agriculture Production Program
  • Animal and Livestock Production Program
  • Micro Credit Program
  • Essential Oil Production Program

 

Leadership and Training

  • Village Leadership Training Program
  • Women's Workshops and Training Program
  • Career Development Programs

 

Health Initiatives

  • Nutrition and Food Security Program
  • Family Garden Program
  • Latrine and Sanitation Program
  • Dental Program
  • Community Water Systems Construction Program 

 

Education Initiatives

  • Adult/Child Literacy Programs
  • Pre Kinder and Kinder Education Program
  • Schools and Classroom Construction Program 
  • Scholarship Program

 

Environment Initiatives

  • Family Clean Stove Program
  • Reforestation Program
  • Eco-Tourism Program

 

Cultural Preservation

 

Major Projects 

 


Where We Work

Click here to see Guatemala's area of focus


Check out some of our Core Partners


View Upcoming Expeditions


Connect with Us

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Field Blog


Contact Us

CHOICE Center Guatemala –Phone / Contact Information

Jorge Chen - CHOICE Guatemala Director 
jchen@choicehumanitarian.org
502-5524-5566

 

Sikaab’e Center – Phone / Contact Information

Evert Rodriguez
erodriguez@choicehumanitarian.org
502-1-408-85018