Guatemala Hope strives to enable every family to have adequate housing which is more than just four walls and a roof. The United Nations does not deem housing to be adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, etc.; It is the right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.
In 2005 we started the Homes of Hope Project. Villagers are given applications The local committee reviews all the applications and makes a recommendation of their top priorities. A Canadian team visits all the applicants in their homes to get a clearer perspective on the family living situation. Together the two groups then decide who should receive the next available grants. To date we assisted over 70 families acquire a better living environment.
In the village of El Triunfo, they had a partially completed water system and we were able to finish the lines and get a tap at every household. We continue to work with the village to teach wise water usage and maintenance of the system. We are currently looking at the partially completed system in Los Tiestos as well as drinking water in other villages. Seasonal flooding can contaminate the wells and we are investigating ways to divert the floodwaters in El Triunfo.
Air contamination is a major problem due to cooking over open fires, resulting in many health problems and safety concerns. In conjunction with SHARE we have started a stove building project in the villages, but are still finding smoke issues if constructed in-doors. We are currently exploring a smaller stove that is built in the highlands of Guatemala and can be purchased locally. Due to ground contamination by human and animal waste we are currently investigating the latrine situation. Our first project will be flush toilets at the school in El Triunfo.