The Guatemalan Dream: A brighter future without leaving the country

In Guatemala, inadequate public programs, rising crime levels, drastic climate change resulting in natural disasters and hunger, are all driving forces for the massive surge of Guatemalans choosing to leave for the United States.

The Guatemalan Dream

Karen Larson, Friendship Bridge’s President & CEO

Friendship Bridge’s Microcredit Plus program (microcredit paired with education and health services) has proven to be an effective solution to improve the lives of thousands of clients, in 2018, the organization served over 28,000 women with credit, education and health services. Friendship Bridge has recently opened a new office in Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan Dream

A client showing her potato production, part of her commercial activities supported by Friendship Bridge in the Cuchumatanes area.

Guatemala has a population of approximately 17 million people. In 2018, more than 815,000 Guatemalans, equivalent to almost 5% of Guatemala’s population, emigrated to the United States. Friendship Bridge, an NGO specialized in rural women’s empowerment, has unparalleled success in poverty alleviation and provides an alternative solution to emigrating to the US. “Never has our mission been more important than now with the current political environments in the United States and Guatemala.

The Guatemalan Dream

Farmer women active in the Agriculture Program in the area of Rio Blanco, Sacapulas.

Friendship Bridge, as the name suggests, bridges the gap by providing programs and services that create opportunities so families can build sustainable futures in their own community.” said Karen Larson, Friendship Bridge CEO. “We create opportunities for women to build better lives in order to keep their families together and create lasting change for generations to come. We have proven that our methodology is effective as seen in our clients’ reduction in poverty, increased food security and family savings, more education for their children and increased profits in their businesses.”

The Guatemalan Dream

María, a woman with 9 children and a native of San Nicolas, Huehuetenango, spent a fortune for her two children to cross the US border. One of them succeeded, but the other was detained and deported. “My son was arrested in Texas,” says María with tears, “he was brought in chains and handcuffs back to Guatemala. We lost Q70,000 as a result and we were greatly humiliated.” She learned about Friendship Bridge after going through that experience, and with the support of the NGO, her family was able to recover, set up a business and generate profits that have helped her improve her household, diversify her business and become an empowered woman.

The Guatemalan Dream

A client in the Western Highlands who works as part of Friendship Bridge Artisan Program.

Friendship Bridge is the solution for María and thousands more. It has invested in the economic, health and social development of women since it started operating in Guatemala over 20 years ago. With a staff of 160, Friendship Bridge provides access to critical capital, monthly education, and preventive health services offered in the indigenous languages spoken among its clients.

The Guatemalan Dream

Weaver women proudly showing their products developed with help of Friendship Bridge Artisan Program.

The NGO also offers mentorship in business management, advanced training on the sales of handicrafts to new markets, and agriculture technical training on modern farming techniques. Friendship Bridge focuses its operations in the poorest regions of Guatemala and conducts operations in 11 departments through 8 branches and 3 administrative offices. Recently, Friendship Bridge opened an office in Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan Dream

A client in Huehuetenango, proud to show her textile production as part of a Friendship Bridge trust bank in that area.

For more information:

Marta Julia Ixtuc,
External Communications Coordinator
mixtuc@friendshipbridge.org Phone: 4016 7617

Miguel Vargas Corzantes,
Global Marketing and Communications Manager
mvargas@friendshipbridge.org Phone: 5698 7565

Central Office:
Panajachel, Guatemala.
Phone: 7762 0222

Guatemala City Office:
Calzada Roosevelt 22-43 Zona 11, Nivel 15, Oficina 15A, Torre Sol, Grand Tikal Futura, Guatemala City.
Phone: 2296-6196.

Photographer:
Miguel Vargas Corzantes

More Information visit: friendshipbridge.org

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