Stories from change-makers in Guatemala

Elizabeth Briseida Amelia
Sponsored Child In Guatemala Studying
Elizabeth was 6 when she became a sponsored child.
Thanks to a scholarship from Plan, she graduated from high school. Now she works for Plan Guatemala as a sponsorship assistant. The job allows her to pay for university classes, where she is studying to become a psychologist.
Meet former sponsored child Elizabeth
Hurricane Iota swept into Central America just two weeks after Hurricane Eta hit the same stretch of the Caribbean coast, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Together, Eta and Iota have affected more than 1.9 million people across Guatemala.

Briseida is one of more than 300,000 people who have been displaced because of the hurricanes. "There is no privacy in a shelter," Briseida said. "There is only one bathroom."

Adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to disasters. They are more likely to drop out of school, suffer from violence and discrimination, marry early, become pregnant or lose their livelihoods during emergencies.

For girls who were already out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning at home will be even more difficult. “It hurts me to drop out of school, because I want to continue studying," Briseida said. "I don’t know where, but I want to study, I want a better future for myself.”

Plan is supporting families living in shelters with essential supplies including food, cooking utensils, mattresses and hygiene kits. We are also providing families with economic support through cash transfers to repair homes, restart livelihoods and buy household goods. We have reached more than 15,000 families, including Briseida’s, who now have comfortable mattresses to sleep on.

Despite all the hardship she has endured, Briseida remains optimistic about her future, looking forward to returning to her home, seeing her friends and going back to school.

“I want to be a psychologist and will look for ways to make my dream come true,” says Brisaida.
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Sponsored Girl In Guatemala Amelia Reading
Home is crowded for Amelia.
She lives with her father, stepmother, grandmother and eight siblings. Her family runs a traditional sweet making business in their rural community. But business has been difficult due to the pandemic.

"We have not been able to offer all the varieties that we usually produce," Amelia explains. "We can only sell candied sweet potato, because we can’t buy peanuts or coconut, the prices have gone up too much.”

Many Guatemalans have lost their jobs or can no longer access work due to strict lockdown measures. This has led to concern the economic fallout will lead to widespread hunger and malnutrition.

Amelia recently completed her training to become a pre-primary teacher, but she hasn’t been able to find work so far, instead helping her father with the business. “I take turns with my sister to accompany my father when he goes out to sell door to door in neighboring communities.”
Most of her time is now spent inside her home, which has taken some getting used to. “I love being out of the house, I almost never stay at home and I miss going out. Now I stay home and help with the household chores, such as fetching water from the spring, cooking and cleaning.”

While some young people in her community have access to the internet, this is not an option for Amelia. But she tries to stay positive. “It is good to have more time at home, to share things with my brothers and sisters. I try to practice and develop my skills as a teacher with them. I help my little brothers and sisters to go over their classes, learn to read and write and to make progress with their learning. I have a little brother in pre-school, and I enjoy supporting him, which fills my time during this unusual period."

As a member of Plan International’s Leadership School, she has been a spokesperson for the organization for many years. Her commitment to promoting the rights and equality of girls remains strong. “I hope that this time will soon be over, so that I can return to my activities as a spokesperson, continue my search for employment, and feel again how beautiful life can be.”
Meet more young people advocating for change

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Guatemala since 1978.

Our work in Guatemala

Sponsored Girl In Guatemala
Office & operations

Plan Guatemala’s country office is in Guatemala City, with program offices located in Baja Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Jalapa, Escuintla and El Quiché.

Technical areas

Plan Guatemala focuses on the following program areas: Education, health, economic empowerment, civic participation and disaster response and management.

Number of sponsored children

As of June 30, 2022, people like you sponsor 28,662 children in Guatemala through Plan International.

Our projects in Guatemala

Why sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

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But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

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Send them birthday gifts and cards.

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Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

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Arrange a visit (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

Meet a child to sponsor