At Together We Can Guatemala we love Guatemala. It's a country of stunning natural beauty. Guatemalans are friendly and welcoming. The country boasts impressive ruins from two long-gone empires: the Spanish and the Maya. And the local customs and art are filled with bright, attention-grabbing colors.
At the same time, it's impossible to be blind to Guatemala's problems. Illiteracy is common. Crime and violence are rampant. Unemployment is high. Poverty takes its toll, with its attendant problems like malnutrition and poor healthcare. Women particularly suffer within this machista culture. The rate of femicide is one of the highest in the world.
So along with our love for the country comes our desire to help. We believe that one of the solutions to Guatemala's problems lies in developing its youth through better education, job training, and better health, and we dedicate ourselves to that proposition. At this time, we are running two programs in the area of Antigua, a colonial town near the capital. One is the Garden of Hope Permaculture Center, our base for teaching local children about gardening, environment, and recycling -- and also for providing them with green space, a luxury that is often unavailable in their poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The other is the El Hato Literacy Center. Located in the poverty-stricken mountain town of El Hato, it provides the largely indigenous student population with access to library classes, book check-out, homework help, after-school tutoring and music classes.