Guatemala’s catastrophic eruption of the Volcan de Fuego in July of 2018 left an approximately 165 people dead and thousands of others homeless. The aftermath of this natural disaster affected more than 1.7 million people in three communities: El Rodeo, Acatenango, and Escuintla.
Today, hundreds of people in these three communities continue to lack basic goods and services, especially low-income and economically vulnerable households. In addition, many survivors suffer from psychological and emotional repercussions as a result from their own experiences and the loss of their loved ones.
As our supporters will know, in the wake of this tragedy, Global Giving sent funds to a civil society organization (CSO) in Guatemala that was actively working to not only provide basic goods, such as food, water, and shelter, but also psychosocial counseling for survivors. The Asociacion Generando Equidad, Liderazgo, y Oportunidades, commonly known as ASOGEN, had years of experience providing gender equity training in the community of El Rodeo, but sought to expand its services when calamity struck the lives of thousands and thousands of Guatemalans.
In the last few months, ASOGEN has opened a new facility that serves distinct functions and roles for the CSO. Thanks to kind contributions of Global Giving and the help of volunteers, ASOGEN uses this space to assemble baskets of food, medicine, and hygiene supplies. Once the baskets are ready, groups of ASOGEN staff and volunteers distribute them to the calamity-affected households.
In addition, ASOGEN utilizes this new facility to host grief counseling and life skills sessions aimed for survivors to not only cope with their grief, but also—and more importantly—to envision a better future and design a concrete plan to accomplish their goals. One adolescent girl, recently said, “I am so thankful and grateful for these sessions, which have helped think of other things than the tragedy I experienced.”
Another young boy said, “I did not know how traumatized I was by the incident. When the volcano exploded, I was working outside of my community and there was a period of time that I could not contact my family. For a moment, I really thought they had all passed away. When I was finally able to get home, I was overjoyed to learn they were all alive and safe. In the first grief session, I realized that one moment where I thought I had lost my family continues to be a source of anxiety and depression.”
Overall, ASOGEN has provided more than 170 male and female youth with seven psychosocial counselling sessions and hosted three community-wide workshops.
With additional funding in November 2018 from Global Giving, ASOGEN launched a project with the objective to provide seed capital, business classes, high school scholarships, and vocational courses to further enable participants to have a positive future following this disaster. A monitoring and evaluation plan was also designed to track participant’s success with the project.
ASOGEN are very grateful for the continued support and investment from Global Giving.