Mission for life project

In Guatemala, families living in remote areas have difficulties accessing health care services due to a lack of transportation to facilities, resources, or language barriers. Fundanier, founded in 2003, provides outpatient services, hemodialysis, dialysis and kidney transplant services to children, especially those from low-income families.  

Many Guatemalan families still face the difficulties of the remoteness of their communities that limit the times they can take their children to receive treatment in a clinic. To account for this, Fundanier, in collaboration with Bridge of Life and Habitat for Humanity Guatemala (HFHG), has developed the Health Care Module for children with kidney disease to create safe and secure spaces and environments for the health and well-being of the family. 

The Health Care Module 

The Module is built one meter away from the home of the families, creating a passageway with the existing home. The main objective of this Module is to promote a safe and healthier environment for the personalized treatment of patients with kidney disease living in remote communities of the country. Additionally, this module aims to: 

  • Provide families with a durable structure strategically located to the side of the existing home for patient access. 
  • Improve current hygiene conditions in the home by accessing water through a rainwater harvesting system outside of the home, and hygiene areas through the installation of a sink and washing station. 
  • Expand current home environments by amplifying the construction footage of the home and reducing overcrowding in other built spaces. 

Peritoneal Dialysis Room

  • 3.00m x 3.00m block and wood structure 
  • Includes: rainwater collection system, outdoor handwashing station, metal door and windows, solar panel, water filter, chair, table and shelves.  
  • Design structure can be customized to meet family needs 
  • Cost: approximately $7,500.00 USD 

Project results 

  • Built 8 safe and durable structures for home-based peritoneal dialysis care (from September 2022 to March 2023
  • Improved access to water and hygiene for participating families 
  • Healthier and brighter futures for children 
  • Alliances with local and international partners that fund and support this Mission for Life project 

Josefa Ixtahualan – ADISA

Meet Josefa Ixhalan,the proud, single mother of Dolores (19 months) who has an intellectual disability that requires constant care and attention. 

Thanks to the support of Habitat for Humanity Canada, Hope & Healing and Homes4Hope, this family now has a new home that has been specially designed to meet their needs. The home was designed incorporating universal accessibility. It has a spacious and safe outdoor area where Dolores can play and enjoy the sunshine. 

Josefa is beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity and has expressed her sincere thanks to everyone who made this possible, “I feel much better now. I want my daughter to grow up in a safe environment, go to school and be happy,” she mentions. They now have a comfortable place to call home, where Dolores can thrive and grow. This is truly a testament to the power of community and how we can come together to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. 







Margarita Ramírez – ADISA

Today, we share with you the story of the Ramírez family, who participated in the project Improving the lives of people living with disabilities in Solola, Guatemala implented by Habitat Guatemala and ADISA and funded by Habitat Canada, Hope&Healing International and Homes4Hope.

Kendall, inspired by the health care professionals who have helped him with his cleft lip diagnosis, wants to be a doctor someday; he wants to help other children. “After all, doctors helped me too!” – he tells us, brightly. The family is grateful for the support and care they have received from ADISA for Kendall’s therapy.  

Kendall proudly shows us the new home, water filter, stove and bathroom that he and his family received during the project. The family is overjoyed with their new home and express their gratitude for the support they had received, “I can hardly find words to express our gratitude. We already feel at home here. Thank you very much for everything!” – says Margarita. They shared how much of a difference it had made in their daily lives and how much easier it was for them to move around the house. Kendall, can now play and grow up in a safe home. They also spoke about how grateful they were for the sense of community they had felt throughout the project,  

The Ramirez family’s story is just one example of the positive impact this project has had on the lives of 45 families with children with disabilities. We are proud to be part of this transformation and we remain committed to continuing our efforts to improve the lives of Guatemalans. 







Petronila Nimajay – Hybrid House – Church of Bend

Petronila (25) is doing laundry in the new pila (water station) when we arrive at her new Hybrid House in the hidden village of Chuacruz Pujujil, Sololá. Her husband Antonio (27) and children Blanca, Emerson and Osvald greet us with smiles on their faces: Seqar!“ – Welcome!. The fourth child of the family sleeps in a cloth on Petronila’s back. 

“We are very happy and grateful to have this very nice house. Before, we lived in the mud house next door with my parents.” – Petronila recounts – “It was cramped and dark.” 

The new house is bright and protects the family from wind and rain. “Now we have enough space! It makes our life much easier!” – Antonio, tells us. With the house they also received a Healthy Home Kit including a water filter, a smokeless stove and a latrine . 

“Thank you again for this support, God bless you. Our life has improved a lot. Cooking is easier now and the children are no longer in danger of getting burnt from the fire. We can also use water more sparingly!”. As in many remote areas, people have to fetch water from a distant source. 

“Chuaqchic” – Goodbye ; everyone waves to us as we are about to leave her new home. 








Every Drop Counts! – Water Day, March 22

Every year on March 22nd we celebrate World Water Day. An important date that invites us to reflect further on the value of water for each one of us and for life itself. 

For many, going down to the kitchen for a glass of water or performing daily tasks such as bathing, washing hands or brushing teeth is neither a challenge nor a health threat. Perhaps this is why many of us are even accustomed to wasting water without reflecting on the millions of people who struggle every day to get the vital liquid and for whom every drop counts.  

Worldwide, the scarcity and lack of safe water is alarming. It is estimated that at least 2 billion people use water sources contaminated by feces or other microbes as their main source of drinking water (WHO, 2022). Similarly, 4 billion people (two-thirds of the world’s population) experience water scarcity at least 1 month per year (UNICEF, n.d.).  

This existing water vulnerability (contamination and scarcity) brings serious consequences among which we can highlight: 

  1. Diseases: 829,000 deaths per year due to lack of safe water and sanitation (WHO, 2022). 
  1. Hunger: Inadequate access to water, hygiene and sanitation account for 50% of global malnutrition (UNICEF, 2022). 
  1. Conflict: In places like Cameroon 23,000 have been displaced by conflicts related to lack of water (UNHCR, 2021). 

In Guatemala, the situation is as worrying. Despite the abundance of water resources in the country with our 7 lakes, 19 coastal lagoons, 49 ponds, 109 lagoons, 7 reservoirs and 3 temporary lagoons, it is estimated that more than 90% of the country’s water sources are contaminated (Peace Brigades International, n.d.). At the same time, 3.5 million Guatemalans do not have access to potable water (World Scarcity Clock, 2023) and the lack of adequate and easily accessible sanitation services in homes affects 44% of households in the country (INCAE, 2016). It is worth mentioning that Guatemala also ranks as the 16th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change, which will amplify the magnitude of the impact of scarcity and contamination of water sources in the country. This will affect millions of Guatemalans in their living conditions and, mainly, their health. 

Faced with this situation, year after year Habitat for Humanity Guatemala (HFHG) continues to work hard with local volunteer committees, communities and national and international organizations to reach the neediest families in Guatemala. In this way, HFHG has supported entire communities with water, hygiene and sanitation solutions ranging from water purification filters, pilas, rainwater harvesters and sanitary stations.  

Since 2010, HFHG has delivered 4,385 latrines; 10,157 water purification filters; 1,084 pilas, 3 community water systems and 225 rainwater harvesters. Thus, contributing to bring clean and safe water to many communities throughout Guatemala. At the same time, HFHG is creating a platform to contribute to the promotion and advancement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets and indicators such as Goal 6: clean water and sanitation.  

Through the support of Habitat and its network of collaborators, today more Guatemalan families do not have to worry about their children getting sick from drinking contaminated water, they do not have to travel distances of up to 1 hour several times a day to collect water, and more families have access to safe and quality sanitation services. In addition, having water harvesting systems supports families with water in quantity, and having water purification filters also helps to obtain quality water that is fit for human consumption. All of this also supports the household economy and mitigates the morbidity of gastrointestinal diseases. 

The use of water is everyone’s responsibility, it is not enough just to obtain and purify it, but it is also important that we take care to give primary treatment to wastewater to minimize the environmental impact. HFHG has been working in recent years to implement water sinks in outdoor washing stations, biodigesters and ventilated pit latrines that help protect groundwater from grease, soaps, human excrement and other contaminants. Groundwater accounts for 99% of the planet’s liquid freshwater (UN, 2022), so its care is of utmost importance to minimize the impact of scarcity, pollution and to expand access to safe water for the entire population. 

HFHG’s purpose this year is to continue supporting more Guatemalan families and informing society about the great need that still prevails for many communities to be able to obtain safe water. All of us can support this great cause by donating, volunteering or simply spreading the word about Habitat’s work in order to reach more communities.  

One drop at a time, together we can make a difference  


ACNUR. (09 de septiembre de 2021). ACNUR: Conflictos por el agua obligan a huir a miles de personas del norte de Camerún. Obtenido de https://www.acnur.org/latam/noticias/videos/2021/9/613ac4cf4/conflictos-por-el-agua-obligan-a-huir-a-miles-de-personas-del-norte-de.html 

INCAE. (2016). Estado De la Vivienda En Centroamérica . Costa Rica: INCAE. 

OMS. (21 de marzo de 2022). Agua para consumo humano. Obtenido de https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water 

ONU. (21 de Marzo de 2022). Naciones Unidas: Noticias ONU. Obtenido de https://news.un.org/es/story/2022/03/1505842 

Peace Brigades International. (s.f.). Peace Brigades International: Guatemala. Obtenido de https://pbi-guatemala.org/es/multimedia/art%C3%ADculos/la-escasez-de-agua-en-guatemala-entrevista-gerardo-pa%C3%ADz-ecologista-del#:~:text=%C2%BFCu%C3%A1les%20son%20las%20causas%20de%20la%20escasez%20de,que%20tienen%20un%20efecto%20directo%20sobre%20el%20 

UNICEF. (16 de mayo de 2022). UNICEF. Obtenido de https://www.unicef.org/es/historias/agua-hambre-cosas-que-necesitas-saber#:~:text=Los%20ni%C3%B1os%20malnutridos%20son%20tambi%C3%A9n%20m%C3%A1s%20vulnerables%20a,50%25%20de%20la%20desnutrici%C3%B3n%20mundial.%20UNICEF%2FUNI361793%2FSobecki%20VII%20Photo 

UNICEF: for every child. (2021). Water Security for All: reimagining WASH. New York, USA: United Nations Children’s Fund. 

Water Scarcity Clock. (2021). Water Scarcity Clock. Obtenido de https://worldwater.io/ 

M8: For a Guatemala That Turns Congratulations into Action

Internationally, March 8 of each year represents an important date for each and every woman in society, International Women’s Day. However, more than a day of celebration, congratulations or giving flowers or chocolates, March 8 is a day to commemorate, remember and act in the search for true gender equality. As women, we need the congratulations we receive on this special day to become real actions that promote that all women achieve a dignified life, free of violence and with access to the same opportunities as men.

Hearing congratulations for being a woman in a country like Guatemala, which is ranked 113th out of 146 countries worldwide and last in the region in terms of gender equality, is something that needs to be improved. In Guatemala, we need to make being a woman a synonym of pride and dignity and not a limiting factor in our integral development due to inequality.

Guatemala stands out as one of the countries with the lowest economic participation of women (117th place) and the lowest female political participation (119th place) (World Economic Forum, 2022). In addition, UN (2017) notes that the wage gap between Guatemalan women and men is 32%. That is, in Guatemala for every Q100 a man earns, a woman earns Q68, working an average of 13 hours a day, while men work 11. A situation that mainly affects migrant, indigenous, rural women and young women. Only 37% of Guatemalan women participate in the formal labor market (in contrast to 85% of men); only 27% run their own business and only 28% have access to financial markets (in contrast to 66% of men (USAID, 2023).

So, as women we ask ourselves, is it really something to congratulate being a woman in Guatemala, and can we transform these congratulations into sustainable and impactful actions for women?

At Habitat for Humanity Guatemala (HFHG), we faithfully believe that support for women should be reflected in actions. Therefore, we seek and carry out projects that aim to provide the female empowerment that is needed not only for the benefit of women but also as a boost for the integral development of society as a whole.

Currently, women represent 53% of the beneficiaries of HPHG programs (HPHG, 2020). Such as the Revolving Fund for Humanity program, which provides financial support for the construction of housing solutions. As well as in projects focused on entrepreneurship and income improvement, such as the poultry farms in Morales, Izabal, implemented in 2020 and 2021, which allowed them to have a livelihood for self-consumption and sale.

Likewise, HFHG through the regional Habitat for Humanity and FICEM project called: “100 Thousand Floors to Play On” seeks to replace dirt floors with concrete floors from 2023 to 2025, mainly supporting Guatemalan families where women are the head of household and with children under 6 years of age, older adults, and/or people with disabilities.

Through support in the construction, training and delivery of housing solutions such as wood-saving stoves, latrines, water purification filters and rainwater harvesters, we promote Guatemalan women’s access to dignified, healthy and safe water, hygiene and sanitation solutions. With wood-saving stoves, smoke inhalation is reduced due to the practice of cooking over an open fire, which affects the health mainly of women and young children who spend the most time in the kitchen (HFHG, 2023). This reduces respiratory illnesses by up to 81%. Water filters and rainwater harvesters improve regular access to safe drinking water for human consumption and have a positive impact on the reduction of time spent collecting water, which is usually done by women in the household and to which, in some cases, they dedicate up to 4 or 5 hours a day, allowing them to have time to devote to other tasks such as starting their own business or studying. Finally, through adequate latrines, the lack of safe water and sanitation facilities, the practice of open defecation and one of the main causes of school dropout mainly in women when girls begin menstruation are combated (Adukia, 2016).

That is why, instead of congratulating them on this important date, today HFHG tells Guatemalan women that we will continue with our commitment to develop innovative, sustainable and high impact housing projects that allow all women to empower themselves and have access to a more dignified life. We know that an important step in the quest for Guatemala’s integral development is promoting and acting to improve the current development of Guatemalan women, since we cannot advance as a country when 51% of our population continues to live in conditions of inequality and insecurity.


Written by: Daniela Ramirez, International Resource Development Coordinator.



Adukia, A. (2016). Sanitation and Education. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Hábitat para la Humanidad Guatemala. (2020). Memoria de labores: 2019. Guatemala.

Habitat para la Humanidad Guatemala. (2023). Hábitat para la Humanidad Guatemala. Obtenido de https://www.habitatguate.org/about-us/products/

ICEFI. (2021). Mujeres De Guatemala: Un análisis de sus condiciones económicas y sociales. Guatemala: ICEFI.

Naciones Unidas en Guatemala. (8 de marzo de 2017). Comunicado de prensa: Las mujeres guatemaltecas, hacia un planeta 50-50. Guatemala, Guatemala.

USAID. (enero de 2023). Women in Guatemala. Obtenido de https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/2023-03/Fact%20Sheet%20-%20Women%2001.2023.pdf

World Economic Forum. (Julio de 2022). Global Gender Report: 2022 . Genova, Suiza.

Blanca Rosales – Byran/College Station HFH

Like many Guatemalan families, for Blanca and her two sons, Edgar and Jorge, the dream of owning a safe space to call home was far from being fulfilled.  

They have lived in Santa Cruz, El Quiché for a many years. Blanca works in the fields, while Edgar and Jorge work as mason’s helpers.  

Their old house was built with corrugated metal sheets and dirt floor, which caused them several problems, especially during rainy season, as the water would leak into the house and get everything wet, in addition to affecting their health. 

Thanks to the support of Bryan/College Station HFH, in coordination with Habitat Guatemala, the Rosales family is now living in their new Hybrid Home. Blanca and her sons are excited to finally have a safe place from their own, free of rainwater and dirt. “It’s something as simple as having a door. We didn’t have one, we only had a curtain. Now, we have our own doors, and it makes me very happy and grateful,” – says Blanca. 

In addition to their new Hybrid Home, the family also received a Healthy Home Kit that includes a smokeless stove, a water filter, a pila (water station) and a sanitary latrine to provide them with basic services and improve their living conditions. 

Blanca shares a message for the donors: “Every day, I thank God, and I pray that He sends many blessings to you and everyone who supported us to build our home. Thank you!” 





#Myhabitatexperience – Sayra López

My name is Sayra Nohemi Lopez, I am 30 years old, I have a degree in Social Work, single, my residence is located in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, Guatemala, I live with my mother and my brothers I consider myself a responsible person with extensive teamwork skills, creativity and service to others, as well as the ability to learn fast. I am the Educator of the Izabal affiliate. 

My work experience has been in the service of the population; which made me fall in love with my profession and allowed me to feel that I am being part of the development and wellbeing of communities and families so that they become resilient and obtain a better quality of life. 

I have been volunteering for 15 years with the Red Cross movement and that experience has helped me in my work.  

Why Habitat Guatemala?

When researching about the Organization I was attracted by its vision and mission and some testimonials I found; I felt that it adapted to the fact that I like to support families and work with volunteers, so I applied for the position and got selected to work with Habitat Guatemala and I am sure that it was my best choice, I have put my knowledge into practice and I have learned even more. 

Your Habitat Experience

 I started working for Habitat Guatemala on March 4, 2017,  I have 5 years of belonging to the Organization; where I have had contact with a large number of community families training on issues of Healthy Homes, Risk Management, Financial Education, Self-Esteem, and constructive issues, in wood-saving stoves, concrete floors, sinks, community family chicken coops which have been subsidized to families with the Program of Attention to Extreme Poverty and support for families affected in tropical storms.    

 I have also worked hand to hand with volunteers in following up with families who wish to improve their quality of life through social credits for the construction of housing; encouraging volunteers in the area in the commitment to serve others, thus cultivating the love of humanity and working selflessly for the development of others.  Also training them in leadership, organization and community participation, principles and values,  conflict management and communication. In order to strengthen the capacity and leadership of each volunteer to support the communities positively impacting their development. 

 I have seen firsthand the needs of the communities, as well as the transformation of the quality of life of the families through the projects and solutions provided by Habitat Guetemala, among those lives is mine, not only gave me the opportunity to grow professionally, but also in the realization of the dream that every family has, and that is to build my own home. 

A message to the Habitat community

To help our neighbor we do not need to have goods but only our will and a spirit of service and that in our heart we never run out of humanity, I share with you this quote 

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa