Focus: Construction and Community.
Constru Casa is a non-profit organization based in Guatemala that offers basic housing to families living in extreme poverty. Constru Casa works in collaboration with local social organizations (usually education or health-based) to identify families of exceptional need. Beneficiary families participate in the construction of their own home alongside the volunteers and under the guidance of a team of Constru Casa construction workers.
The families also pay back one fourth of the total cost of their house over four years. Constru Casa collaborates with its partner organizations also in other construction projects and community service programs.
Guatemala is among the poorest countries of the Americas with more than half of the population living in poverty. Particularly acute is the problem of inadequate housing. A typical house is made of cornstalk walls, a dirt floor and a scrap material roof. Facilities for basic hygiene like clean water and bathrooms are most often inexistent.
Constru Casa’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the poorest families in Guatemala by providing housing and offering support programs. Additionally, Constru Casa carries out other construction projects for the benefit of communities.
We strive to accomplish our mission through:
The construction of sustainable houses for poor families.
Offering additional housing-related improvements including energy efficient stoves and water filters.
Providing post-construction services including family new-home orientation and instruction, as well as maintenance.
Co-operation with strategic partners in the area of education, health-care and wealth programs.
Consulting and supervision of community construction projects.
Encouraging participation of disadvantaged families in community affairs and self-improvement.
Constru Casa is financed through donations from individual donors (many of whom have volunteered with us) and foundations.
Costs & Benefits
Constru Casa houses are built by local construction workers, their assistants, at least one member of the beneficiary family, and up to 4 volunteers. Construction volunteers and the family member work under the direction of the masons. For volunteers, the work consists of digging foundations, carrying materials (including concrete block, sand and rocks), mixing concrete, and generally helping the masons in their tasks.
It takes approximately two weeks to build a house. We encourage volunteers to work for two weeks (Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm) in order to see the complete construction of a house. The work sites vary considerably, depending on rural or community settings and the general context of the family. Usually, construction volunteers are placed in small towns near Antigua, but depending on the volunteers’ preferences and our current work sites, we can arrange for our volunteers to work in even more rural areas.
$420 - approximate price for one person for 2 weeks
Includes: transportation costs to and from the airport, home-stay with local family, 3 meals a day (except for Sundays), transportation costs to and from the work site, and extra pocket money
$350 - minimum suggested donation which goes towards the cost of the home you will be building
*We can also arrange Spanish classes at a local Spanish school before or during your volunteer service. This will be charged separately by the school - the prices range from $120-150 for 4 hours of class a day Mon-Fri.
No previous construction experience required. Volunteers will only be asked to handle simple (but physically demanding) tasks. Speaking Spanish is very helpful, although not necessary. Volunteers of any age are welcome to participate - we've had volunteers ranging from 16 to 62 years-old! Those under the age of 18 will need to send a disclaimer signed by their parent or legal guardian before arriving in Guatemala.
1ra Avenida Sur #62, San Pedro las Huertas,
La Antigua Guatemala
Tel: +011 (502) 7832-8348
Location: La Antigua Guatemala
Average cost per day: $30
Focus: Construction and Community
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, basic Spanish is useful but not essential