New Year, New Challenges, New Hope

By Hector Alay McDonald



As 2020 begins, we reflect on what last year brought us and prepare for what the new year will bring.


There were many changes for HRI Guatemala last year, including the election of new governmental authorities, both on a local and national level. These leadership changes have the potential to affect our work.  We will be reaching out to new officials in the new year to begin developing relationships that we hope will lead to positive working partnerships.


We restructured our field staff and the strategies HRI employs in late 2019 in an effort to create more sustainable change in our work. The goal is to give greater power and responsibilty to the communities so they can become our partners, not just beneficiaries. We identified new local and international partners.  Together we were able to achieve some awesome outcomes in the arena of child protection, suicide prevention among teens and training mental health professionals. Finally, the participants in our urban and peri-urban programs took on greater and more active roles as volunteers in 2019, and we are excited to see this expand in 2020.


2020 will be both challenging and exciting, but we are confident that our new staff members and volunteers are up to the task. The overwhelming feeling in HRI Guatemala is that the communities are getting ready to take the lead role in building their own futures. After all, it is their community, their reality, their story. We, as staff, and you as donors are here to facilitate and guide them towards achieving their dreams. However, we are no longer the protagonists; we are no longer the “saviors”; our role has matured – as has theirs. The communities are embracing the exciting moment, albiet a bit frightening, of their journey when they can take ownership of their own history; they can shape it, while also knowing we are there giving them a hand up but no longer simply a hand out.


In both rural and urban áreas, we are creating spaces where people get together to dream, to plan, to discuss, to reflect about their own lives and ways to improve them. This includes not just basic needs but also the more profound ones – the ones that truly make us human, the ones that elevate our dignity and bring spiritual growth to those interested.


Hopefully my blogs for this and future years will be less about the amazing things HRI Guatemala is doing and more about the achievements of the urban and rural communities we partner with and all that they will be able to do this year – thanks to you, our generous donors and friends.

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