Volunteer in GUATEMALA
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Spanish
POPULATION: 14.1 million
GDP per CAPITA (PPP US$): Guatemala $5,100 Canada $41,100
% of Population BELOW POVERTY LINE: 54%
WHY VOLUNTEER IN GUATEMALA?
Literacy rates in Guatemala are amongst the lowest in Latin America. The government runs public schools that are free to attend but the cost of uniforms, books, supplies and transportation makes them less accessible to the poorer segments of society.
Our volunteer projects are based in and around the town of San Miguel Duenas, a very traditional Guatemalan community surrounded by rural countryside. It is an agricultural town of 9,000 people who survive mostly on coffee and flower industries, and many of its citizens are subsistence farm labourers. Although Duenas is situated just 15 km from the tourist center of Antigua, it has a substantially lower standard of living. Many homes do not have running water or electricity. It 2012, Tropical Storm Agatha destroyed homes and crops, and many homes are still in disrepair.
Volunteers help with various community driven projects from our host partner, the Open Windows Foundation, an organization that works to provide free education to disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteers with some knowledge of Spanish can assist younger children with their reading skills. Other volunteers may be asked to help small groups of children with computer skills, numbers and crafts. Volunteers will also assist in the construction of needed infrastructure projects, such as the construction of homes for families in need. Developing World Connections long term commitment is to help improve the community members' life options and to increase their self-sufficiency. No special skills are required.
Upon the completion of the Volunteer Experience, we recommend volunteers explore the center of Mayan civilization, including its ancient archaeology, rich culture and diverse landscapes. Although the natural landscape of lush jungles, rainforests and highlands lends Guatemala the title “Land of Eternal Spring”, its indigenous villages and markets capture the blend of ancient Mayan culture with the aristocratic architecture of its colonial past. In Antigua, visit museums and art galleries, or spend time shopping at traditional Mayan markets. Visit Lake Izabel and the 400 year old Spanish fortress, Castillo de San Felipe. Travel by boat down the Rio Dulce, meandering past coastal fishing villages and through mangrove forests inhabited by manatee and crocodiles. Visit the 2000 year old Mayan ruins in the Tikal National Park and take a guided tour through a coffee plantation.
WHEN CAN I GO?
|Volunteer Experience Schedule|
| MAY 4 - MAY 18 Student (ages 16 - 29)|
| NOVEMBER 9 - NOVEMBER 27 Short Term (all ages)|
| AUGUST 2 - AUGUST 16 Short Term (all ages)|
| NOVEMBER 8 - NOVEMBER 22 Short Term (all ages)|
Note: The Volunteer Experiences Schedule will be updated every two weeks.
It is subject to change depending on flight arrangements and suitability for host communities.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Short Term Trips: A two week volunteer trip to Guatemala costs $1,959. This includes the cost of in-country food, in-country ground transportation, in-country accommodation, program costs and a substantial direct donation to the project. Airfare is not included; however, the entire cost paid through DWC is 100% tax deductible, including flight costs.
Student Trips: A four week student trip varies in price from $2,000 - $2,400 (flights not included) depending on number of participants. You can fundraise for your trip and DWC will issue charitable receipts to your donors.
Trips may be cancelled if not enough people are registered so please sign-up early to avoid disappointment. A $500 deposit is required to hold your spot on the trip; the remaining balance is due 60 days prior to your trip.
We invite people who cannot give the gift of time to donate to Guatemalan projects and programs through Developing World Connections.