Volunteer opportunity in Río Dulce: Casa Guatemala
published apr 26th, 2015
At Casa Guatemala boys and girls from poverty stricken, rural households are given a hand up: free primary education, meals, healthcare and support. You can help.
Three Casa Guatemala residents pose for a picture.
What it is
Casa Guatemala provides free primary education, healthcare, meals and extracurricular development to some 250 underprivileged kids outside of Río Dulce, Izabal. The community, generally referred to as the Children’s Village, is made up of a full-time teaching staff and a volunteer corps of educators, medical personnel, activity coordinators and others.
Leysi & Lillian play with a balloon during lunch recess.
The kids at Casa Guatemala range from prekindergarten to the sixth grade, and come from families who cannot afford education through more traditional channels. About half of the students are full-time boarders, the others attend the grounds daily while living at home. Kids are taught standard curricula such as math, sciences and language studies.
A volunteer spends time with the younger girls before school.
The Children’s Village is made of up several classrooms, a clinic, a dining hall, some administrative space, boarding houses, volunteer quarters and a small sports stadium and soccer field.
The property is large and comparatively well-developed considering its location among impoverished rural communities in the tropical jungle. Contrasted with western expectations, however, the Children’s Village is extremely modest: wooden buildings, part-time electricity via gasoline generator and solar power, and extremely basic boarding and housing accommodations.
Short versus longterm
Casa Guatemala accepts both short term volunteer vacations, and longterm positions with a minimum commitment of three months. The volunteer vacation program costs $250 per week and includes accommodations and meals at the nearby Hotel Backpackers.
A volunteer rests with a tired student during the heat of the day.
Long term volunteers live onsite at the Children’s Village for three weeks out of every month, with the fourth week allocated as descanso or a rest week. Volunteers can travel or relax in neighboring towns during their descanos. Longterm volunteers pay a one time fee of $300, and may work and live at Casa Guatemala for as long as they wish.
Volunteering: day to day
Volunteers with specific skill-sets or work experience are considered for specialized positions in the clinic or as educators. Most volunteers, however, help to supervise boarding students before and after school hours, as well as during meal periods. This generally includes helping children to prepare for school in the mornings, organizing and conducting extracurricular activities or recreational outings after school, and supervising children in the evenings.
One of the younger students of Casa Guatemala smiles for the camera.
Students at Casa Guatemala come to rely on volunteers for help with day-to-day tasks, supervision and general support. The tight knit, live-in atmosphere tends to integrate new volunteers into the community very quickly.
Interested in volunteering? Casa Guatemala would love to have you. Get in touch via the Casa Guatemala website for more information.
Other ways to get involved
Casa Guatemala is a registered NGO that is supported by affiliate non-profit organizations in the United States, Canada and Spain. The Children’s Village is able to provide education, healthcare and a supportive community to ~250 disadvantaged kids annually only with the support of generous private donors from around the world.
Wendy, one of the fifth & six grade girls at Casa Guatemala.
In addition to volunteers, Casa Guatemala is always seeking donor partners to help keep the community thriving, and to help kids gain access to lifestyles above and beyond rural poverty. If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, a class or a special project, you can learn more about donation opportunities on the Casa Guatemala website.