Advance Guatemala is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Guatemala is a country with a rich culture and striking natural beauty located in Central America on the southeastern border of Mexico. The majority of its 13 million people are of Mayan descent. In addition to Spanish, 21 Mayan languages plus two other indigenous languages are spoken in the country.

While Guatemala is a major exporter of coffee, sugar, bananas, and cattle it also exports fresh vegetables to the US and elsewhere plus specialty crops such as cardamom and snow peas. Light industry and tourism are also major economic activities.

In spite of these economic strengths, poverty, poor nutrition, sub-standard water and sanitation facilities, and low levels of formal education are facts of life for vast numbers of Guatemalans. According to UNICEF, over 50% of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth, 17% of women ages 15-24 are illiterate, and the average income per capita is $2680 (compared to $9980 in Mexico and $47,580 in the US).

Guatemala suffered though thirty-six years of warfare between leftist guerrilla insurgents and the army and government security forces. This is said to be the longest civil war in the history of the western hemisphere. Largely as a result if this warfare, approximately one million Guatemalans live outside the country-the vast majority in the US, Mexico, Canada, and Belize. The war was officially ended with a peace treaty signed in December 1996. The governments since 1986 have been democratically elected.

Due to its location between two oceans and along at the convergence of two tectonic places, Guatemala has suffered from numerous natural disasters. In recent decades they have ranged from the 1976 earthquake which killed over 23,000 people and left over 1 million homeless to massive flooding from Hurricane Stan in 2005 and the 2010 eruptions of the Pacaya and Fuego volcanos.

While Guatemala has made significant strides over the past few decades in improving the areas of health, education, housing and economic opportunity, much remains to be done.

Advance Guatemala is committed to extending a hand to assist effective programs which address these areas.
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