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Our Story

How it all started

This is a non-governmental organization that helps families in zone 5 of the department of Quetzaltenango. It was founded in 2004 by Judith Bank and Marcel Van der Geest, the first year it worked in a rented house in the same neighbourhood. In 2006 they moved to a classroom that the Street School (EDELAC) gladly lent them for five years. Already in 2010, Caras Alegres moved to its own building which is made of concrete and sheet roofs. It has a space for kindergartens, the Caras Alegres room, the kindergarten classroom and training workshops for mothers.

Caras Alegres also has a large kitchen where children's food is made, consists of a large bathroom suitable for the size of children, an administrative office, a Psychology clinic for children and families in general who need psychotherapeutic assistance.

A courtyard is a large place where children perform recreational activities. This institution has two working days; in the morning the children of kindergarten, kindergarten and kindergarten are attended, and in the afternoon the children who come from the canton Xeúl and Barrio las Rosas who regularly study at the Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC) come to Caras Alegres and are included in craft workshops, sports activities and school tutorials are attended. Mothers are also served in the afternoons through the Camino a la Independencia project, a project that seeks labor inclusion through training and courses such as cutting and dressmaking, crafts, jewelry, cooking, baking, etc.

This institution is supported through Caras Alegres centrally located in Holland, they also receive donations and volunteers from foreign countries.


Caras Alegres had its beginnings through funds from "Vastenaktie" Catholic social aid group based in Holland.

Since 1995 a group of four Catholic parishes in the Netherlands called Hoogmade, woubrugge, Oud-ade and Rijwering, worked together to fund and collaborate with Caras Alegres. Funds are centralized in Vastenakie. With the beginning of the parish federation of Doortocht an extension of Vastenaktie is created with the parishes of Leijmuiden/rijnsaterwoude all together make up the parishes Emmanuel in Roeloarendsveen/oude Weering.

In the meetings of these parishes Mrs. Betty Bank always spoke with great enthusiasm about the experiences of her daughter Judith, who together with Marcel, in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango lived and made them found Caras Alegres. Talking about the things he saw and the need of people when he visited his daughter and the foundation in Guatemala.

Despite her experiences, she never directly applied for help for Caras Alegres, but she noticed that when she talked about the Foundation in Guatemala people were very enthusiastic about her stories, telling her: some like you doing something very good in a very needy country like Guatemala?

That is why after activity in the parish the concern to support Judith and Marcel was born.

At the end of 2008 Caras Alegres received the news that the request for the creation of a project that would be part of Caras Alegres was going to be carried out, this project is "Road to independence". At the beginning of 2008, there were two people who came to organize this project, which was later directed by a Guatemalan person.

Already formed and having Dutch funds through the parishes described above, the identification of the main problems in the Barrio las Rosas begins, elaborating through this the Mission and Vision of the project, objectives are established, and the action plan is created to achieve the objectives set contemplating the evaluation of everything planned as a final result.



Provide and improve the general well-being and position of women and children, who live in poverty, neglect and personal disintegration.


Fight against the negative effects of poverty and offer children, and families in the Xeúl Canton and Las Rosas neighbourhood a positive attitude towards the future.

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