Celeste Tzorín – Cement 4

Celeste’s Sololá home is painted a beautiful white that matches her happiness and that of her family. She and her family moved into their new home a few months ago and they are happy to be settled and stable. 

Celeste’s home is located on a property that belonged to their family for several years, and after renting for over five years they decided it was time to start building a house for their own through Habitat Guatemala.  “Having a house of our own was a dream that seamed too far to achieve, due to financial situations and other expenses that we went through but thanks to God we had the opportunity to build it, when the process started we were very exited to see it, it was like a party for our family!” Celeste mentions.

“We feel blessed, now we have our own space, we are safe here and feel very blessed. Everyone has its own room”, mentions Celeste. The new safer home, has improved their quality of life for Celeste and her family. Now, they do not have to spend more money renting a property while they are investing in their own house. 

The Tzorín family is a very united family. Together they have overcome many obstacles presented to them and during the COVID19 Pandemic they were facing different obstacles, but having a roof of their own was one less problem to worry about. When asked what is her favorite part of the house, she answers: “I like everything in my house, I feel satisfied with it, everytime I welcome my relatives they compliment the house and say it is very pretty. So yes, I feel very happy with it”. In the future, the family is planning to plastering the walls and add a second level.

Celeste’s house is built next to her mom’s house, Pantaleona. They built both houses at the same time! “My mom had always dreamed of building his own house too, so we decided it was a good idea to build our houses together and support each other”. Now, both of them have two beautiful houses and a safe space for their family!

When she talks about the volunteers who spent a week working on her home, she remembers that they assisted by transporting the materials to the building site, they were very active and joyful! –her house is set back from the road–and she has a message to share, too.”We want to thank all the volunteers for their support in building our houses. We keep very nice memories of them! They were part of this dream and now it is a reality.  May God bless you and your families. Now they can see their effort, sweat and support represented in the finished houses.”



#meet our partners – Let hope begin here

In the community of Guayabales, Chiquimulilla, Santa Rosa, under the shade of two trees, with the rocks serving as seats and accompanied by a gentle breeze, we talked with Scott and Jane, who shared the story of how Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala was founded and what these past 15 years have been like.  

Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala started 15 years ago when Scott Robertson was looking for opportunities to support a local orphanage. He met with a government official during a holiday. “This is what I call a “what are the chances” story”, –Scott said– “I asked him one of the most important questions of my life: What can I do for you? What would you like to do for your people?” He brought back a letter from a village asking for support.    

This marked the beginning of the journey to Guayabales. On the first visit, the entire community was waiting for them, because no one had been willing to help them in the past. Octaviano, the Major of the community, identified the following needs as priorities: 1. an economic program for the women, 2. health care for the women and children and 3. a technical vocational school to educate the children out of poverty. And so, Scott began the process of finding other good people and organizations that had the same vision.   

Scott and Jane had known each other since childhood because their parents went to college together. Even when they moved to separate towns, their parents always exchanged Christmas cards. Jane traveled to Guatemala and fell in love with the country, so in one of the Christmas cards, Jane found out about Scott’s work in Guatemala and contacted him. After learning about the help needed for Guayabales, she invited her son to participate in this project. On their first trip to Guayabales, they brought construction materials to build a new roof in the community school. “The metal sheet was bouncing on the back of the truck and everyone said, Yay! It´s real! It´s real! and everyone in the village started helping”, recalls Jane. 

They recall that one of the main requests Octaviano had been: “Do not come up and do it for us. Come and teach us so we can do it for ourselves”. That’s what Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala did. The organization provided funds and experts. The community provided the labor and willingness to learn.  Since then, Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala, works alongside the community and has supported Guayabales with a rainwater catchment system, a water purification system, a single line bridge, a series of training, and plenty more meaningful interventions to make Guayabales a self–sustained community.  

about our partnership

In January 2022, Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala partnered with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala to build a teacher’s home . Like many of the communities in rural Guatemala, access to Guayabales is not easy. The road is in poor condition and during the rainy season, access is difficult. Scott explains; “this house is a solution to the problem of being able to keep teachers for the full school year due to difficulty accessing the community. The teachers currently travel by motorcycle in the raining season. By the time they get there it’s time to go back home, so the children are only getting educated one or two days a week and are getting further and further behind in their education”. 

What does this project and the community mean to you?

Jane smiles and answers: “I think everything! It seems to me that you cannot help them enough, their needs and aspirations are endless, and the most valuable we can do is provide them solutions to sustain themselves, because I am not going to be around for that much longer”. We are seeing kids grow up! We have met them since they were little kids.. 

 Scott adds: “Our work is to teach them well and put ourselves out of the job to help them get to the point where they can do it by themselves”. It is complicated to explain in words what something means which doesn’t have words, but when people come, they know. And after 15 years, the one thing that we have is credibility, they know we listen, they know we care and they know we will respond “. 

Final message to our donors, volunteers and partners

“As John Stuart Mill said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing´, so, I don’t want to be that type of men”. – Scott Robertson.   

 “With this house we hope we will have been a life-changing impact for the whole community here”. – Jane Ragsdale.   

“Next to your love, your work is the most powerful thing that you can give to someone else. Your work is what you have to give and it is the most powerful way to show your love”. – Mitch Mitchel.  

“The support of Let Hope Begin Here Guatemala, has been of great blessing for all of us. We have felt very blessed by God. God has listened to us and heard our requests. We feel very grateful for all the support. We know that we are not alone, that there is someone who is looking out for us”. – Octaviano Santos (Mayor of Guayabales). 

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala is grateful to take part in these partnerships that continue to contribute to the construction of a better Guatemala!








Disasters Response – Feb 16th earthquake

According to the INSIVUMEH (National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology of Guatemala). The national territory is divided into three tectonic plates: North America, Caribbean and Cocos. The relative movements between these determine the main topographic features of the country and the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes.

The contact between the North American and Caribbean plates is transcurrent. Its manifestation on the surface are the Chixoy-Polochic and Motagua faults.

The contact between the Cocos and Caribbean plates is of the convergent type, in which the Cocos plate goes under the Caribbean plate (a phenomenon known as subduction). This process gives rise to a large number of earthquakes and the formation of volcanoes. The contact between these two plates is approximately 50 km off the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

At the same time, these two processes generate deformations inside the Caribbean Plate, producing secondary faults such as: Jalpatagua, Mixco, Santa Catarina Pinula, etc.

Due to this, Guatemala is constantly facing earthquakes of low and high rate. On February 16th a 6.8 earthquake stroke Guatemala causing several structural damages, mainly in the department of Totonicapán.

From this context emerges Habitat for Humanity Guatemala’s intention of collaborating with families whose houses have suffered structural damages. Through a network of both national and international donors, Habitat is in the process of raising funds to support those most in need with the following housing products:


We aim to support Five families in Totonicapán who are not being supported by other programmes. However, the journey to achieve this still requires both fundraising. Consider joining us in this efforts.



[1] INSIVUMEH – Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología de Guatemala.


Reverting the effects of the pandemic in the education and health of children – Hearts4Guatemala

In the rural areas of Guatemala, more than 20% of the population does not have access to drinking water, the rest of the population are subject to intermittent services that sometimes do not have a good quality or enough quantity. The need for water was exacerbated after the COVID-19 pandemic, where regulations and protocols recommended constant handwashing to prevent the spread of infections. These water issues have had a big impact on the educational opportunities for children, as many schools did not have access to water which prevented the implementation of prevention protocols.

This is the case of the school Mario Morales Monroy in the community of Susho Abajo in Chiquimula. Before classes were suspended due to the spread of COVID-19, there was an attendance of 600 students in this school. Water is very scarce in the community, increasing the vulnerability to the spread of viruses and bacteria that can be prevented through proper handwashing and sanitation. Additionally, there were recurring gastrointestinal diseases from the ingestion of contaminated water.

In partnership with Hearts4Guatemala, the school was equipped with 11,600 liters of safe drinking water through two water filtration systems. Additionally, rainwater is collected through the roof of the schools’ court and stored in a water tank to supply the school during the dry season. In addition to our regular educational component, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala provided training on the proper use of water sources and COVID-19 mitigation.

Thanks to this intervention, the school in Susho Abajo will be the first and only school to resume operations in the area and reopen for in-person classes. While the world adjusted to prevent the spread of infections during the COVID-19 pandemic, many vulnerable groups were faced with bigger challenges that delayed the improvements achieved in the past. This was the main motivation to the project and, in light of World Social Justice Day, Habitat for Humanity in collaboration with Hearts4Guatemala aims to provide equal opportunities for everyone and revert the effects of the pandemic in the education and health of children.




Manuela Choy family – ADISA

“This is our new house,” says Manuela, pointing ahead. She’s seated in the garden next to her daughter where they are weaving traditional clothes that they sell. We can see their new house with a new cement floor.  

Before the family’s journey to their new home, they were living in a house that had a dirt floor. Its walls and roof were constructed of sheet metal that had rusty holes. It was a place to call home, but it didn’t provide the family with the safety, comfort and privacy they deserved. Every rainy season they confronted the same problem, floods. 

“We’re happy here,” she says, smiling. “The rain doesn’t come inside anymore and we are comfortable”.  

Ricardo, Manuela’s younger son, was born with a hand disability that resulted in a surgery where he got his finger amputated. The family is united and taken Ricardo for therapy and surgeries at ADISA. He is 15 years old his only wish is to continue studying.  

 Manuela sends her greetings and thank you to the donors.   

“Thank you for providing us with this home and making our dream a reality! May God bless you”.



María Coo family – ADISA

María, her husband Oscar and their two children Javier and Nico now live in a two-bedroom house that was renovate in the heart of the community of Cerro de Oro, Santiago, Atitlán. “Before, we lived in one room with dirt flooring. Our stove was outside covered with corrugated metal sheets”.  

As Maria speaks, we can hear Javier and Nico laughing and playing in the garden with their friends. She shares the journey they have had as a family. When Javier (4) was born, he was diagnosed with spina bifida: “Since he was born, my husband and I have been traveling to Guatemala City for Javier’s surgeries and therapies. Thankfully, my husband has been my biggest support”. Having more living space and adequate flooring have given the family greater opportunities that would have been impossible in their previous living conditions. During the afternoon, María and her sister have a small shop of “tostadas” a typical Guatemalan food. Neighbors who live nearby can drop in and enjoy their food made fresh from her kitchen.  

The additional living space have been nothing short of a great improvement, where María and her family are eager to create new memories in. She enjoys that there is more space  “The children have their own space to play, we have a proper kitchen and the boys have their own room too”, says María. When we asked Javier, what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers he wants to continue studying and become a traffic police to control vehicles!  

Finally, María shares a message to the donors “First of all I want to give thanks to everyone involved in this project. We are very grateful to God for having a place where the rain does not leak in, where my children can play and grow safely. Receive many blessings”.




Hilda Ajbal family – ADISA

Hilda Ajbal’s Sololá home is painted a beautiful white that matches her happiness and that of her children. She and her family moved into their new home a few months ago, in time to celebrate Christmas, and they are happy to be settled and stable. 

Hilda’s home is located on the same property as her old house which was built over 20 years ago. Before building their home, the couple lived in a house that was in poor conditions. “It was built from corrugated metal sheets,” recalls Hilda. “During the winter it was really cold because it had leaks and a big space between the walls and ceiling. During summer it was very hot, the floor was of dirt so, many times we had to walk over water”. 

Seven people live in the house and while not all of them were home, those that were spoke enthusiastically about their new home. Mayte, 12 years of age, participates in ADISA’s program. She has blindness and has been traveling to Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City since she was a baby to receive therapy and attend school with her mother Hilda and her father Edwin.  

The new safer home, has improved their quality of life for Mayte and her family. Hilda recalls the entire process of building their new home; “When we received the visit from Habitat and they told us we were selected, it was a great day for us!  Having a house was something all my children were dreaming of. As a family we participated in the construction process by leveling the land. We are so happy because now we do not have to suffer leaking’s of rain water, nor feel cold or hot.  We have more beds and more space for everyone. We even have a desk for Mayte to receive her online classes.’’ When the mason told the family their home was ready, Mayte happily said, “Tomorrow is going to be a great day!” 

Mayte is currently studying fourth grade and taking classes online. Her favorite subject is mathematics. Mayte many dreams. One of them is to become a primary school teacher. “I want to teach mathematics to my students”, she says.   

The Ajbal family is a very united family. Together they have overcome many obstacles presented to them. “When we found out that Mayte has blindness, it was worrying for the family because I started thinking about her future, how she was going to grow and develop in this society. However, my family has been supportive and together, we decided we were going to fight to give Mayte a better life. Now, we can say that she is a very independent little lady”. 

Hilda and her family are grateful for the support of Habitat Canada, Hope and Healing. “Thank you to everyone who was involved in order to provide us with this new home. We are grateful and encourage you to continue with your support. You are making a big difference in many families like ours”. 


Improving the lives of people living with disabilities in Sololá

In Guatemala, children and adults with disabilities are among the most invisible to society in all fields, levels, and processes of social development. The majority of families of people with disabilities are living in poverty and extreme poverty, with no access to a decent home, lacking basic amenities like water, electricity, bathroom, kitchen, etc., and with an education and healthcare systems that are not designed for diversity.

In the communities of Santiago Atitlán, one of the most illiterate municipalities in the department and the one with the greatest poverty, at least 10.4% of the population are estimated to have some type of disability. Through a 3-year joint project between Habitat Canada, Habitat Guatemala, Hope & Healing International, and ADISA in Guatemala, both ADISA and Habitat Guatemala have supported the quality of life of the families in Santiago Atitlán by providing comprehensive care, healthcare, education, employment, and empowerment programs, and access to adequate housing.

In the first year of implementation, we were able to support 15 families living with people with disabilities in accessing adequate housing, healthcare, inclusive education, and employment opportunities. This was achieved through the construction of a new home, the implementation of a curriculum for vocational training and entrepreneurial education and training, providing job search support, mental health workshops, risk management education, and medical follow-up care, and the distribution of health home kits and installation of pilas. For years 2 and 3, we expect to support 15 additional families living with people with disabilities in Santiago Atitlán each year with an adequate housing solution and the establishment of a poultry farm and family garden for the production of eggs and vegetables to improve their diet and socioeconomic status through the sale of the surplus in the community.

Thank you Habitat Canada, Hope & Healing, and ADISA Guatemala for their work in improving the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families in Santiago Attitlán so that they are included in their communities and enjoy their rights to the fullest.