A story of war, poverty, and perseverance
Casa Guatemala shows that everyone can make a difference.
Casa Guatemala was established in 1977 and originally named Casa Canada, as the original founders were a Canadian couple who reached out to assist the malnourished, orphaned, and abused children during the brutal civil war. Their early efforts catalyzed the mission of the organization to provide a safe home, nurturing, health care, and an education for the children of Guatemala who are abused, abandoned, malnourished, or living in extreme poverty.
Started in the height of Civil war, when poverty was epidemic within the displaced indigenous population, Casa Guatemala served as a light shining at the end of a tunnel for families that could not afford to feed their children, and children whose parents had been killed in the war. In the beginning it was only a small clinic and office run by a handful of international volunteers. The Center was expanded within the city for many years until The Children’s Village was created in 1987.
The Children's Village
Situated in Las Brisas, Rio Dulce, Casa Guatemala’s Children’s Village is a paradise filled with laughter, learning and love. Spanning over 100 acres of tropical jungle are the many buildings that make up the community. These include separate housing for the boys and girls, local staff and primary school, medical clinic, library, carpentry shop, outdoor playing fields and a dining hall, where the meat, fresh fruits and vegetables from the school’s farm are served.
The farm is both a learning tool where the children gain the agricultural skills needed in the outside world and a source of provisions for a balanced diet. In addition to the wide variety of produce we grow, our farm also pigs and other livestock, the surplus of which is sold in the local community to aid in the self sufficiency of the project on a whole. Our medical clinic provides free health care services for the children of the centre as well as the many local indigenous communities in the area.
As part of a new plan for Casa Guatemala, we will be creating a new organization that will focus solely on the work in Rio Dulce. Once established, The Children’s Village will be run under the name of Sonrisa a Sonrisa (SAS).
This organization will have a board of directors made up in part by members of the Foundation, and members of the long-term staff of the school and Children’s Village. Hotel Backpackers will also fall under the umbrella of the Foundation to ensure that the funds generated will always be used to support the projects of Casa Guatemala in the future.