International human rights law states that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing. Caroline van Heerde envisioned a Guatemala with dignified housing for every family – and founded Constru Casa in 2004. Today, Constru Casa seeks to improve the quality of life among Guatemalans who live in extreme poverty. We do this through our four community development programs:
– Construction of dignified concrete block houses
– Construction of community buildings: schools, clinics, and community centers
– A thorough 4-year follow-up program
– A healthy stove and water filtration program
We collaborate with local organizations to identify families in need, and to help communities on their path toward a better and more sustainable future.
Poverty in Guatemala
The United Nations identifies Guatemala’s Human Development Index as the second lowest in all of the Americas, second only to Haiti. Approximately 59% of the Guatemalan population lives in poverty, defined as earning less than US $3.10 per day. In rural and indigenous areas, this number rises to 79%.
Guatemala’s poverty is rooted in many social, economic and political factors, manifested in high illiteracy rates, poor health and extremely inadequate housing. According to research carried out in 2013, more than half of the population of Guatemala lives in unsuitable ‘houses,’ and the overall shortage was approximately 1.7 million homes.
This is why Constru Casa has made its mission to combat poverty in rural areas all over Guatemala through the construction of adequate housing and the creation of holistic community development programs.
Our programs have made a great impact; learn more about the impact of our work here.
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of families we work with reported living in overcrowded conditions; with three or more people living in each room. When families received their Constru Casa house, this number was reduced to 7%.
of families we work with have made improvements to their homes after the initial construction.
of our families reported that they feel more secure in their new house against both natural and human threats (earthquakes, weather, and criminal activity).
"What better way is there to change a family's life than to build their first permanent home? I have been involved with several building projects, all with different organizations, and I enjoyed working with Constru Casa the most because I was very involved in every aspect of the construction. I learned new skills such as connecting rebar with wire, cutting blocks with a hatchet, laying bricks, and carrying concrete blocks on my head. I was able to connect with the family's nine-year-old, Daniel, and was amazed by his incredible work ethic!"
"When our daughter is going to grow up, she's going to have a real home and feel really happy. Our new home is very different from our previous one! In our old home made of adobe, the wind would blow in the cracks of the walls and it would get very cold. Instead here, she sleeps better because it is warmer. That's why when we are living here, we see that she falls asleep more here in her bed, and that's why this home is so much better for her."
The Alvaro Upun
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