Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Habitat's work in Guatemala
Guatemala News and Stories
Housing need in Guatemala
Guatemala is one of the richest and most diverse countries in Central America, and it accounts for about 40 percent of the region’s population. It is also one of the poorest and most inequitable countries in Latin America.
Guatemala suffered a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. With more than 200,000 people missing or killed, the conflict — primarily over land rights — left the country deeply fragmented. Land rights issues still exist, with 1.2 percent of the population owning 60 percent of the land. The current housing deficit in Guatemala is over 1.8 million homes. Not enough homes are being built, and many people who have homes lack legal claim to the land or live in inadequate shelter threatened by severe weather, theft or eviction. In addition, homes often have insufficient space or lack access to basic services.
Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala
Founded in 1979, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala was the first Habitat organization in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Since the construction of its first home in Aguacatán, Huehuetenango, Habitat Guatemala has served more than 61,000 families in need of housing solutions.
Habitat’s contribution in Guatemala
Habitat Guatemala helps low-income families improve their living conditions by building new homes and housing communities, stabilizing and improving existing houses, and offering smokeless stoves, water filters and basic sanitation services.
Habitat Guatemala´s mission is to work together through our faith and with the help of people from around the world to support those in need by building, adding to or improving houses so that all Guatemalans have access to basic housing necessities and can live in a stable home. Habitat Guatemala’s vision is that all families in Guatemala inhabit a decent house.
Meet a Habitat family
For Hember Mejia and his wife, Ana Cuellar, each day is a new opportunity to improve their children’s quality of life. Early in the morning, Hember and Ana go to Los Amates market in Izabal, with their shoeshine box and sodas: “We get to the market at 6:00 am, prepare our shoeshine boxes, and start cooling the sodas. Then, we wait for the buses to start selling,” says Ana.
For a long time, Hember had been working to improve their life conditions. However, many people underestimated his work and made fun of his dream to provide a better life for his wife and children, but with his effort and dedication Hember always fought for his family.
Unfortunately, Hember’s daily effort and work did not allow him to buy an adequate house. But one day, he received the visit of Habitat for Humanity staff members, who informed him that the dream of owning their own house would become a reality. In just a few weeks, and with the dedication of the entire family, the home was built.
Now, the three daughters are enjoying their new home, it gives them security and a place where they can study, play and enjoy life next to their parents. The girls help their mom to keep the house clean and neat. “I feel proud of my parents, because they are role models and have taught us to work hard and to achieve our dreams” says Ana.
The story of Hember Mejia and his family is a clear example that, with dedication and effort, Guatemalan families can improve their quality of life.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Guatemala, please contact us:
Luis Samayoa, National Director
Julia Rao, Manager of International Donor Relations