Guatemala City is the economic, governmental, and cultural capital of Guatemala. It is a large city with a population of over 1 million residents. The city is located in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita in the south central part of the country Guatemala.
Guatemala is a charming nation with charming people unfortunately struck by struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. The country is characterized as a developing country, but with wide income disparities.
According to the World Bank,
Poverty in Guatemala is both widespread and severe. Approximately 75 percent of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, which is defined as an income that is insufficient to purchase a basic basket of goods and services. Almost 58 percent of the population have incomes below the extreme poverty line, which is defined as the amount needed to purchase a basic basket of food.
Unfortunately, all of Guatemala’s social indicators reflect this widespread poverty and severe inequality. For example, with education, which is an area I am most passionate about, literacy rates are dismal, and gross school enrollment rates are low – 77 percent for primary school and dropping drastically thereafter.
While no one can change the plight of Guatemala or any developing nation overnight, there are some way we as individuals may begin to help, one person at a time, starting today…
Cross-Cultural Solutions background
Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad, and contributing responsibly to local economies.
Operational since 1995, Cross-Cultural Solutions maintains long-standing relationships with local organizations who communicate real-time needs and objectives to the CCS team so that volunteers can work alongside local people and make a sustainable impact. Since inception, more than 30,000 international volunteers have chosen to work with CCS. With a staff of 300+ in 10 countries around the globe, CCS holds a 99.5% volunteer satisfaction record and promise a safe, immersive, and impactful volunteer experience.
The mission of the organization is to operate volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding. Cross-Cultural Solutions has no political or religious affiliations.
Why volunteer internationally and with CCS
International volunteering is a great way to explore the world while making a difference. Being fully immersed in the country’s local culture and traditions, you receive a true and authentic first hand look at life on location, outside of the traditional tourist destinations. What better way to make a difference, no matter of what magnitude, while also getting to learn about the world from first hand real life experiences?
I have long been familiar with Cross-Cultural solutions as one of the most reputable global volunteer organizations operating in several locations across the world. Guatamela City is also a city that is very near and dear to my heart and with a lot of opportunity to make an impact.
Guatemala is as varied in local culture and ecosystems as it is in neighboring countries. As a volunteer in Guatemala, you’ll begin to explore this heart of Mayan civilization and quickly understand why so many people have a special place in their heart for Guatemala. With an opportunity to visit idyllic beach towns, wander Mayan ruins, and climb active volcanoes, you can spend plenty of time as a volunteer in Guatemala and never run out of new adventures.
During its 36 year-long civil war, many Guatemalans migrated to Guatemala City seeking employment. Through the years, this unexpected migration has resulted in the unsustainable expansion of Guatemala City. Since the end of its civil war in 1995, Guatemala has made incredible strides as a nation, however, the continuous influx of new residents combined with a high birth-rate has depleted resources and city planning cannot keep pace. As a volunteer in Guatemala City, you will work alongside an incredibly diverse population whose stories have significantly evolved over the course of a generation.
As a volunteer…
When you volunteer in Guatemala, you’ll assist with the growth and development of children, improve education for children, improve health and the sense of dignity among the elderly, or enhance the quality of healthcare. And no matter where you spend your time as a volunteer in Guatemala, you’ll have a chance to make a real impact as you connect with members of your new community.
Click here to view more info on the volunteer opportunities available with CCS in Guatemela City.
Dates and Fees
Volunteer programs in Guatamela are available from May through December each year and for varying durations from 1 week up to 12 weeks at a time. You choose how long you’d like to volunteer and on what initiatives.
There is a fee involved with volunteering, and you are probably wondering like I initially did, “why do I have to pay to volunteer?” CCS describes this fee as follows:
Your program fee enables us to create an incredible breadth of Cultural Activities, from language and cooking lessons, to exclusive lectures on local culture and history. Your contribution will help to create long-term sustainable jobs paying living wages for local people, like the CCS directors, drivers, cooks, and house guards, and to make sure that they’re all expertly trained. You’ll pay so that the ingredients necessary for the CCS cook to prepare authentic, healthy cuisine are purchased locally, and to ensure that the trusty passenger van safely transporting you to and from your volunteer project each day is ready for the job. The contribution of your program fee is an investment in your international experience, and in the local economy in a community that you’ll soon call home.
You can read more about program fees in the FAQs located here.
Fees range from $2480 for a one week volunteer trip to $8883 for a 12 weeks trip. It is important to note that airfare will be a separate expense. Though that is an hefty sum, most volunteers are able to successfully fundraise to cover the cost of their volunteer fees. CCS provides some fundraising tips and resources to help prospective volunteers raise funds.
For more information on volunteering and for information on other locations CCS organizes volunteer efforts, be sure to check out their website at www.crossculturalsolutions.org.
Have you ever volunteered internationally? Have you volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions? How was your experience? Would you recommend them?
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and individual experiences may vary. TravelSeeLove.com will not be responsible for varied individual experiences.