Rain Water Harvesting System Project in Huehuetenango

This project started as a way to support the residents of the village of Chichim, in the municipality of Todos los Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, who are facing extreme poverty and lacking of basic services.

The community mainly dedicates to potato and corn harvesting as a way to earn a living. Previously, Habitat Guatemala worked on other projects with them such as: sanitary latrines and various educational trainings regarding Healthy Homes and Financial Savings.  These type of interventions are only a few of the ways that Habitat Guatemala seeks to encourage families to make steps towards sustainable self development.

With the rain water harvesting project we have served 48 families. Now, these families can have access to water at any time, since it is a vital element for them in their daily life. Furthermore, families now have access to safe drinking water because they have been provided with a Habitat for Humanity Guatemala water filter. This specific project was made possible due to the “sweat equity” and financial contribution of the beneficiary families. Residents of Chichim paid for approximately 60% of the total cost, provided local materials, and donated their time and unskilled labor for the installation of the system. Habitat Guatemala believes that because the families are invested in projects like that of the rain water harvesting system in Chichim, they will care for their products which will ultimately improve their quality of life and ensure the safety of their crops.

Habitat Guatemala: 40 years in 10 facts

We are celebrating 40 years of Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala!

To reminisce on all that we have been able to achieve since our doors opened, we want to share ten top facts about our history.

  1. Three years after Linda & Millard Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat started operations in Guatemala in 1979.
  2. During its first 16 years, the organization utilized handmade blocks and, on average, it took 12 months to build a house.
  3. In 1999 Habitat Guatemala began expanding the type of solutions that it had to offer to the Guatemalan population. This initiative was named “Más que Casas” or “More than Houses.”

4. By 2005, Habitat Guatemala had achieved national coverage in the country’s 22 departments.

5. The Healthy Home Kits program (which consists of providing families with a smokeless stove, a sanitary latrine, and a water filter) started in 2011. Currently, Habitat Guatemala delivers over more than 8,500 Healthy Home kit products a year.

6. To celebrate our 50,000th Housing Solution, in April 2013, volunteers and staff gathered to build 20 homes, one of which was built in a record-setting 24 hours and 23 minutes!

7. Habitat Guatemala expanded its services and reached a total number of 75,000 Housing Solutions in 2015.

8. To celebrate our 39th year of operations, we reached our 100,000th Housing Solution, which was built in the department of Zacapa.

9. To date, we have been served more than 643,842 people.

10. Our next goal is to serve 1,000,000 million Guatemalans by the year of 2023 in our efforts to continue reducing the housing deficit across the nation.

Elida Picón Family

Marleni lives with her baby, Guadalupe (1), her parents, María and Abel, and her two sisters, Zaira and Elida, in their new Habitat home in the department of El Progreso. They used to live in a finca, a farm, and Abel was the administrator. The family was unsure of how long they would be allowed to live on the farm. This meant that their primary motivation to build a new home was to have a stable place to live.

When they learned about Habitat Guatemala’s programs on the internet, they knew that this was a way to make their dream a reality.

When Marleni starts talking about how she feels in her new home, her joy is obvious.  “We feel very happy and content. We are grateful to God and Habitat Guatemala for their support,” she continues; “In the future we are planning to paint it (our home) and add rod-iron details to the windows.”

Marleni has a message she would like to share with the volunteers who helped them build their home, “Thank you so much for your support. May God bless you for all of your help. We always remember you and the week we spent together.”

Sara Rodríguez Family

(Pictured Sara and her niece, who constantly visits her)

The Carrillo family is currently living in their new Habitat home in the department of El Progreso. Sara (25), works as a waiter in a local restaurant and her husband, Axel (32), is a retailer at a local store. When we visited their family we learned that it is about to grow in numbers, the young couple is expecting their first baby girl!

Sara and Axel were still dating, and planning to get married, when she found out about Habitat Guatemala’s programs through a local fair. Sara explains their situation, “First our house and then our marriage… now we are ready to start our family!”

“I am so happy and very content to have my own space. It is a great achievement for me!” explains Sara about how she feels about her home. She continues to explain their plans for the future, “I want to paint it and in the future add more rooms. I like to cook, spend time with my husband and listen to music too.”

As for the family’s experience with the volunteers Sara says, “They liked to share a lot of time with us. We made great memories with them when we walked around our neighborhood.” She continues, “thank you very much for your support, I will always carry you in my heart and mind. Feel welcome whenever you want to come back.”

Sury Reyes Family

Sury and her family are happy to be living in their new Habitat Guatemala home in the department of El Progreso.  Before getting married Sury and her husband, Elder, decided to build their home to live together. The couple has one child, James (4), and they have a second baby on the way!

They found out about Habitat Guatemala’s programs and made their dream of having a house of their own a reality. “We decided it was time to start our life together and pay for something of our own,” says Sury.

When asked about how he feels about her home she explains, “ I feel happy. When you start a family it is really hard to build a house of your own and have all of the necessary things, but we made a decision and now it is a reality. We worked together and we did it!”

In the future, the Hidalgo family is planning to add tiles to the floor and paint it too. They enjoy spending time in their house, playing with James, and listening to music.

Sury and her mother, Berta, loved having volunteers come and work with them.  “The volunteers were really funny and worked really really hard, even though it was hot and the soil was hard to dig!” explains Berta. “If it was not for their help we would have taken longer to dig the trenches! Thank you all for your support. We are looking forward to receive you all here in the future. Please always feel welcome to visit us!” says Sury.


Iris Pinol Family

Iris Pinol lives with her husband, Luis, and their five children, Jorge (16), Julio (14), Oscar (12), Brian (8) and Luisa (4) in the department of El Progreso. Iris works in a tortilla shop and her husband works as a mason. Prior to building their Habitat home, the family lived in a shack made out of metal sheets on the same land where they currently live. These previous conditions meant that water entered the house in when it rained and the heat was very strong on hot days.

After learning about Habitat Guatemala through some family members, Luis decided it was time to build a home of their own.

“We are so happy, because now our children have a stable and safe house!” says Iris. She continues explaining their plans for the future, “We want to paint it on the inside in the future. We enjoy spending our time together inside.”

Iris thoughtfully reflects on her time with the volunteers who came and helped her build her home, “It was a nice experience for us to share with all the volunteers, my daughter still remembers you every day.  Thank you for your support, we will always remember you.“

Edvin Pérez Family

Edvin Perez, a tuc tuc driver, and his family are happy to be living in their new Habitat Guatemala home in the department of El Progreso.  Before building their home, Edvin, his wife Rosa, and their daughter Kimberly (6), lived with Rosa’s mother, Alba Luz, in a shack made out of wood. In their previous house they uncomfortably, when it rained the water poured in.  “I met a Habitat promoter and asked him about the program and we decided to build our house,” explains Edvin.

Thanks to Habitat Guatemala, Edvin and his family now have their own home.  Their relatives live on the same land and Kimberly likes to play with all of her cousins.

When asked about how he feels about his Habitat home Edvin says, “We feel very happy, the house is very comfortable, we are planning to add tiles to the floor and paint it in the future.”

When asked about their experience with the Global Village volunteers, Edvin expresses, “The volunteers were very smart and were hard workers. I am very grateful with all of you for your support.”