Jun 20, 2019

More than four walls. A place to call home.


Over half the population of Guatemala lacks dignified housing with utilities and sufficient space. Sometimes, circumstances beyond a family’s control force them into an unsafe living situation. Such was the case for the Don Oscar's family.

Don Oscar had agreed to co-sign a loan for a friend. Sadly, his friend defaulted on the loan. This meant Don Oscar was responsible for paying it back. For two years, Don Oscar didn’t receive a paycheck. The loss of income forced Don Oscar, his wife Doña Elida, and their three sons to move out of the house they were renting.


Due to their economic situation, the family moved to a very small piece of land and built a shelter from scraps of metal, plastic tarps, and whatever other materials they could find. They had only one proper wall, which was their neighbor’s. This one-room shelter could not protect them from the rain, wind, or cold. Rats sometimes invaded their space and the wind would blow trash in. During rainy season, the rain would get all of their belongings wet. Mauro, Leon, and Alexander, Don Oscar’s sons, had to do their homework multiple times because it would get wet. Frequently, everyone in the family was sick. The situation for the Landaverde Sac family was dire.

Doña Elida cannot read or write. Growing up, her family did not make enough money to send her to school. Her dream was to build a better life for her family. She wanted nothing more than to see her sons graduate from high school and create a better future for themselves and their family.

Don Oscar's family began partnering with Common Hope in December 2013 before their economic situation changed. An urgent need for a new home was immediately identified by Common Hope’s social worker after visiting the site where they relocated. They were accepted into the Housing Program and Doña Elida began to fulfill the required number of volunteer hours in order to earn a new home for their family

“Common Hope was a ray of light during this difficult time. We are proud of our new home and thankful for the opportunity for ourchildren to study,” says Doña Elida.



Mar 27, 2019


Common Hope | Familias de Esperanza is a NGO working with more than 14,000 individuals in 27 communities in Guatemala to remove barriers to education and provide the resources needed to achieve better lives.
The beginning of the year at Common Hope is one of the happiest and most important times for our affiliated families, students, and staff members. Here in Guatemala it is also the beginning of the school year. The new school year represents so much for Common Hope families––new goals, pursuing dreams and hopes, and the strong will to move forward.
At Common Hope, we believe that with the right attitude and resources every student will be able to accomplish his or her goals and dreams. That’s why our staff takes great care to work with students and families before the school year starts to know where they’re going to school, what the school’s requirements are, and what supplies and books they will need. We take time to learn what the families’ goals are for the year, both academic and in general.

Even though the public primary school system is “free,” there are still costs associated with going to school. The average family Common Hope works with has scarce resources and often these costs become a barrier to sending their students to school. That’s why we partner with them to provide everything they need to start the year off on the right foot!
Each year, Common Hope hosts School Supply Days, providing supplies, books, and uniforms to more than 3,500 students! From our site in Antigua, we coordinate with 20 local communities, as well as in San Rafael el Arado, San Miguel Milpas Altas, and San Pedro Ayampuc.

This year, Vision Team volunteers from the United States worked alongside Common Hope staff to unload the trucks, unpack boxes, and organize supplies. Our volunteers enjoyed meeting some of the families Common Hope partners with!
School Supply Days are truly a family and community affair; parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all come to celebrate the start of the new school year and to support their children in their academic endeavors. These days are filled with smiles and gratitude–they are more than just a "notebook pick-up." Rather, it's a day where communities come together to celebrate the value of education in their future and to embrace the hope of a new school year and all of its opportunity.

For Common Hope, the start of the year is all about working with students and families to set goals and prepare for a successful year ahead. But that’s just the beginning! Throughout the entire year, we work closely with students and families to make sure they are having success in school, staying healthy, and making progress towards their goals.
Dec 27, 2018

Maricruz, CH graduate and successful entrepreneur

Maricruz at her office in Antigua
Maricruz at her office in Antigua

In Guatemala, less than 20% of the population graduates from high school. For girls the rate is even lower. Social pressures dictate that young women are supposed to stay at home with their mothers and help tend to the household. Many aren’t able to finish middle school, much less high school.

Maricruz comes from a family with scarce resources who could not afford to send her to school. Her family approached Common Hope for help and that one small choice, the choice to pursue education, has led to great things for Maricruz.

Maricruz was a disciplined student who demonstrated the drive to improve every single day. In elementary school, she was sponsored by the Spanish Club, La Tertulia, at the Math and Science Academy of Woodbury. The club raised money in order to sponsor Maricruz and the students wrote letters back and forth.

The support of the Spanish Club meant a lot to Maricruz and motivated her to keep working towards her goals.

Maricruz continued to excel in her studies and in 2010 she graduated from high school with a degree in primary school education (in Guatemala, high school students study in their chosen career field and many graduate with a degree in their respective field of study). She wanted so badly to be able to go to college and continue her education, but couldn’t afford the cost of university.

Being determined as she was, Maricruz didn’t give up on her dream. She decided to work as a kindergarten teacher and save her paychecks. After one year she had enough savings to begin college courses.

Four years later, she graduated from University as a Speech Therapist. This is a major accomplishment – in Guatemala, less than 1% of the population earns a a university degree.

Shortly after her college graduation, she began to work in a clinic in Antigua. Still, her dreams continued.

This year, Maricruz achieved yet another one of her goals when she opened her very own Speech Therapy Clinic. Her clinic, ComunicatMaricruz, is located right in the center of Antigua and serves children who are deaf, mute, and those who have autism. Maricruz works with six kids between the ages of 5-8 years old and she sees them 1-2 times per week.

Not forgetting the struggles her family faced, Maricruz offers discounts to families who have scarce resources. Next year, she hopes to be able to help even more children.

Thank you, Maricruz, for being a great example for young women to never give up on their dreams! We can’t wait to see what you do next. 

Maricruz’s story proves that earning a high school diploma has big, meaningful benefits for women. Your donation helps a student like Maricruz follow her dreams.

Maricruz in a speech therapy session
Maricruz in a speech therapy session
Maricruz at her high school graduation
Maricruz at her high school graduation
Maricruz receiving her college degree
Maricruz receiving her college degree
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