Guatemala is one of the world's most violence-torn countries and has one of the greatest difference between rich and poor. Fifty six percent of the population live below two dollars a day. Even after a peace agreement was signed in 1996, the nation is still characterized by the Guatemalan civil war that ravaged the country for 36 years, killing 200,000 people. Over time, the damage and trauma to the population became more evident, and most people are highly demotivated and mistrust the government and police. This has resulted in the extreme violence that currently characterizes the country. The so-called "Maras" are extremely violent youth gangs spread throughout Central America, and constitute one of the biggest challenges in Guatemala. Corruption is a widespread social problem, and the political will to combat the main problem of poverty is strongly lacking. In addition, Guatemala is a country with one of the highest illiteracy rates.
Villa Lobos is a slum village in the outskirts of Guatemala City. Almost 70,000 inhabitants live in the occupied area. Parts of the occupied area have been legalized, so that the residents now live there legally, while others are still squatted. The residents are mostly Mayan Indians who have moved from the countryside to the big city with hopes of work and a better life, but who are unable to cover the cost of ordinary residence in the city.
This project targets the poorest people of Villa Lobos, who are mostly widows, single mothers and disabled women. Since 1997, the project has worked with the development of women-oriented programs that include general and vocational education, courses in economics, training in women's rights, nutrition and nursing. All courses are well organized with a minimum of one year education. The women and their children are also offered physical and mental health services through the project.
The project's focus is primarily on human rights of women living in an extremely violent environment. To assist women to participate in courses, the project also offers day care services for 60 children. The children are fed and are vaccinated at the center.
Fundación Deborah is a social institution in El Mezquital neighborhood of Guatemala City. The community in the region has recognized the positive changes with the organization, and the project and its staff are very well respected in the community.
The project is supported with funds from the telethon ”Dream Catcher”.