Guatemala… is made up of 22 departments (states), 23different languages and a wide variety of terrain, ranging from hot, dry plains to cool, green mountains. With over 14 million people, it makes up 40% of Central America’s population.
Fifteen years have passed since the end of Guatemala’s 36-year-long internal conflict, but the country still faces difficult challenges, both new and old. With some of the highest rates of illiteracy, malnutrition and economic inequity in the world, the average Guatemalan faces an uphill struggle to make a better life for his or her family. agricultural andIt is largely anChristian society… …50% work in agriculture, 49% live in rural communities, and 99% identify as Christian (roughly 40% Evangelical, 60% Catholic).
Colonized by theSpanish in the1500s,Guatemala did not become an independent state until 1821.After a century of attempting to establish a stable democracy, Guatemalaenjoyed “Ten Years of Spring,” a period of free speech and political activity that lasted from 1944 to 1954. A coup upon the democratically elected government in 1954plunged Guatemala into a 36 year civil war ending in 1996. Guatemala is still recovering from these four decades of instability.Sadly, Guatemala’s past has had lasting impact, leaving the country with extremely low educationand literacy rates, poor health indicators, and high crime. Discriminationagainst indigenous communities and endemic poverty affecting over 50% of the population are among thechallenges Guatemalan families face.
The challenges that Guatemalanfamilies face are many. Chief among them area lack of access to health care and education,natural disasters, and poverty and inequality.•16% of Guatemalans and 50% of childrenunder 5 suffer from malnutrition, one ofthe highest rates in the world.•As of 2000, only 11% of the populationlived within an hour of a healthcare facility.•The average Guatemalan has attendedschool for only 4.1 years.•30% of Guatemalans can neither read norwrite in Spanish.•40% of the population is under 15 years ofage, with over 20% of children between 7and 14 years old employed as childworkers.•The population is growing rapidly, withwomen of child-bearing age having 3.6children on average and uneducatedwomen having 5.2 children. Guatemala hasthe highest birth rate in Central America.
The challenges that Guatemalanfamilies face are many. Chief among them area lack of access to health care and education,natural disasters, and poverty and inequality.•Over 90% of the damage left by 2010’sTropical Storm Agatha remainsunrepaired. The storm left over 110,000people in shelters, 160 dead, nearly40,000 with damaged homes, affected1,100 schools and affected or damagedover 150 bridges. •51% of the population lives in poverty (less than $2.5 per day), and 16% lives in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 per day and is unable to afford the basic basket of food deemed necessary to feed their families). •Guatemala’s income distribution is among the 15 most inequitable in the world. •62% of the land in Guatemala is owned by only 1.2% of the population.
There is a shortage of over 1.7 million homes in Guatemala.Almost 60% of the housing deficit is made up of families living in inadequate homes built of unsafematerials (such as mud, straw or stick), and overcrowded homes.The other 40% consists of families paying high rents in homes they don’t own, of families living in homeswithout access to basic utilities, of families living in low-quality homes (leaky roofs, dirt floors, etc).
Habitat for Humanity Guatemala wasfounded in 1979 in response to a major earthquake that had claimed the lives of over 25,000 Guatemalans. As Habitat for Humanity’s oldest international affilite, we have spent 33 yearsworking hard to fulfill our mission of making sure every Guatemalan has access to safe, decent housing.
Habitat Guatemala has 17 local offices, serving families all over Guatemala. It is aGuatemalan led and run organization. Foreigners are less than 10 of its over 140 employees.
To date, Habitat Guatemala has built over 43,000 housing solutions,over 75% of these within the last decade. 35 Housing Solutions Built, 1996-2010 Number of Solutions (1,000s) 30 25 20 15 75% of HFH 10 Guatemala homes have been built in the 5 last 10 years! 0 Despite this incredible accomplishment over the last decade, there are still too many Guatemalans living without dignified housing. There is still a lot of work ahead of us.
Habitat Guatemala offers many solutions to the housing crisisStandard Homes ColoniesProgressive Homes Home Improvements
Most of the housing solutions Habitat Guatemala has offeredto date arestandard homes . We have eight different designs selected based on family preference and terrain. Typically they include two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom, and are 484 ft2 in size. In 2011, the average price of a Habitat Guatemala home is $4,800. In order to serve families who do not have the financial resources to qualify for a standard home loan but who are in need of a safe place to live, Habitat Guatemala offers progressive homes. Progressive homes are smaller, having two rooms and sometimes a bathroom. Once the family pays of half of their loan, they can apply for an additional credit to add on to the progressive home.
Home improvements help transform substandard homes into housing. Our solutions includecement floors, new walls, additions, roof replacement, smokeless stoves, and the installation of newdoors and windows.Colonies, or housing communities, allow Habitat Guatemala to reach those families who do not ownland on which to build a home. Land is purchased, subdivided, and equipped with basic services such aswater, drainage, electricity and streets. Families take out a loan to pay back the cost of both the land andthe house. To date, Habitat Guatemala has developed 21 colonies.
This year we’ve begun construction on our 22nd and 23rd housingcommunities in Usumatlán, Zacapa. Together, these communities will provide over100 needy families with new homes
Habitat Guatemala is always exploring future possibilities , testing new technologies andbuilding materials, and piloting new projects to continue changing the lives of the communities we serve. Latrines Bamboo homes Water Filters Metal homes
We also have some specific projects that address the needs of our familiesThe Guatemalan Dream Projectis a project that seeks to serve the poorest families in Guatemalaby building homes in the seven poorest departments of thecountry. To date, the Dream Project has financed nearly 500homes. Small Change, Giant Leap This five-year project aims to provide extremely poor families with energy efficient, smokeless, wood burning stoves. The stoves not only provide energy and economic savings, but also save lives by keeping smoke out of the eyes, lungs, and homes of partner families.Regardless of the project, all our efforts work toward a single goal: offering comprehensivehousing solutions that are accessible to a variety of economic levels so that all Guatemalanshave access to a safe, dignified place to live.
But what’s a project without IMPACT?In addition to serving an average of 3,000 families per year, Habitat Guatemala delivers financialmanagement, natural disaster response, home construction and maintenance training to all its partner families.We host an average of 1,400 international volunteers annually. In addition to helping our familiesbuild, these volunteers are crucial advocates of both housing rights and Guatemala, sharing their experienceswith their friends, family and coworkers. 1600 1200 2006 Nearly 7,000 2007 800 International 2008 Volunteers 400 2009 in 5 years! 2010 0 International VolunteersHabitat positively affects the local Guatemalan economy. All our materials are made and purchased withinGuatemala, usually from local distributors. Last year we spent an estimated $8 million on building materialsalone. Our international volunteers invested an estimated $1 million in the tourism industry.We also host a growing number of national volunteers, promoting a culture of service and volunteerism. Our180 local volunteer committees throughout the country help us find partner families and promoteHabitat’s work in their communities.
Habitat Guatemala considers our international partners to be extremely important. Between2001 and 2010, we have donated around $338,000 to other Habitat affiliates around the world. We havebeen blessed with a number of incredibly generous and faithful partners, and believe strongly in investing inother communities in need. The current Habitat offices we financially invest in are Tajikistan, Ghana andParaguay.As Habitat Guatemala moves forward, we’ve set the ambitious goal of achieving housing solution 50,000 bythe end of 2013. It’s a crazy goal, we know. But with 15 years and nearly 20,000 housing solutions under hisbelt, Executive Director Luis Samayoa says, “We must have faith.” We agree.We invite you to join us in our celebration in April 2013, reaching a total of 50,000 familiesserved here in Guatemala. With your continued commitment, faith and support, we know we can. Doubling 32 years of service in 5: 35,000 new housing solutions in five years!
On behalf of all those whose lives have been changed by your support… ¡Muchas gracias, y que Dios les bendiga! Jamil Barton Manager, International Donor Relations Habitat for Humanity Guatemala Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office (011.502) 7931 3131, Ext. 422 Mobile (011.502) 4740 6234