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Friends Of Constru Casa Usa

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Housing Support

Mission: Raise funds for asociacion constru casa guatemala

Results: We just completed house number 600!

Target demographics: Extreme poor of Guatemala

Geographic areas served: All of Guatemala

Programs: Constru casa is a guatemalan non-profit organization offering basic, safe housing to families in extreme poverty.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Is incredible that so few people can make so big things!!! Emily, Carolina and all Constru Casa Team are people that make dreams come true building houses for local families.. I was volunteer the past summer and was an amazing experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a child of 14 years I was reading books about the Indsman in America and got a lot of compassion with them. These people were forced to give up their land and freedom to the white people. I then had a dream to build houses some day with them. When I met my wife Esther some years ago she told about here experience as a volunteer in Guatemala. My dream came back and we decided to sponsor and volunteer building a house for a Maya family.
It is incredable how easy it is to help the Maya people and give them a better life. They don't need much and are always proud and happy. They learned to survive in a beautiful country with almost nothing. People we helped were so greatful. It was hard to believe that we made the difference to become a better life by helping them. A very important experience in my life which I can recommend everybody who wants to explore his own belief system and help other people in the mean time.
Thanks to my wife who gave me this beautiful opportunity.

1 Esther5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For almost 10 years now I volunteer for Constru Casa. I first met Carolina around 2002 when I was on sabbatical in Guatemala to study Spanish. Since than I've visited Guatamala about 10 times. I was a volunteer in the office in Guatemala, went on honeymoon to Guatemala and we volunteered and donated a house with my husband. We came back in 2012 and took his children to volunteer at Constru Casa Site (18 year and older). I learn so much from the Guatemalan people and it's an inspiring place to work and meet the local people. An unforgetable and for me lilfechanging experience! Because of the experience in Guatemala I changed my job 10 years ago from commercial company to non profit organisation (and now I am stimulating corporate volunteering). I learned so much and it's relativating my life in Holland. The organization is very professional and I see the donated money comes right where it should come. I can recommand Constru Casa. Right now I am a (volunteer) boardmember of Constru Casa Holland.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Great organization. Small in size, but huge in what they mean for local families. I raised the money to build an entire house and thereafter i joined 2 weeks on the construction site.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience was in 2006, and immediately I was sold. I turned back to the Netherlands as an other human-being. After then I returned 3 times and every time was the time of my life. Now I have a lot of friends in Guatemala. The gretatest to me is the jadeworker in San Juan del Obispo.
My last experience was in 2010. It's difficult to work again to me, because my knee has been worn.

Once I hope to go back for visiting my friendstogether with my wife

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked for 2 weeks for Constru Casa at San Mateo and San Gaspar near Antigua. I learned a bunch of very useful skills, I will need in my career as Civil Engineer ,while helping other people. The workers at the construction site were very friendly and patient. Constru Casa’s staff was helpful, and organized. They made sure everything was working out fine. The homestay Constru Casa organized for me was excellent. The family was friendly and the food was good. Constru Casa is making a huge difference on the lives of hundreds of Guatemalan families. I highly recommend them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A friend and I traveled to Antigua in 2012 to volunteer with Constru Casa and I could have never imagined what a tremendous impact this organization would have on my life. Constru Casa has built an impressive network of team members, volunteers, local masons, and community organizations to support its mission of providing basic, dignified housing to families living in extreme poverty. Carolina Van Heerde and her team are right on the ball with their communication. From my initial contact I had with the volunteer coordinator to the final day of my trip, they ensured that everything ran smoothly. I met husband and fellow volunteer on this trip, and we plan to return to Antigua in the near future to join Constru Casa for another project.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Constru Casa has become a big part of our lives. My husband, Jim, and I have moved to Antigua, Guatemala because of Constru Casa. Jim has been volunteering with them for around six years doing construction of homes and raising money. We have seen first hand how the homes built by Guatemalan masons, the family and volunteers can bring stability to a family as well as better health. The solid construction helps keep the families safe from earthquakes, mudslides and rain saturating their home.

1

Donor

Rating: 3

We donated a house and we also volunteered in the construcction. It was vey hard for us since we are older and had never worked on construction before. There were 2 cildren in the house and both seemed to do well in school. The entir idea is to help children get a better future. We were very please that this family went from a house made of sticks and stones to a block room house. Unfortunately due to the weather we were not able to see it completed.

Comments ( 1 )

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susan205 06/24/2013

We appreciate you and your husband being a donor of Constru Casa and hate to lose that wonderful relationship we have developed. Your feed back is so important to us, to improve our program and to continue helping those families that so desperately need the assistance. I have to apologize for our mistakes. We have been understaffed for some time and most of all our funding goes to the families we help. Please let me know we what we can do to continue to support our mission. Constru Casa masons have been trained in the construction methods of Guatemala. They often do use power tools, when work conditions permit. In many areas of Guatemala, electricity is not available, the electric current is not strong enough or the tools purchased here do not last. Constru Casa is a partnership which includes Guatemalans as well as foreigners. We value both cultures, particularly when it comes to how the construction is completed. Our Guatemalan masons work the way they desire and how they work best; this is often by using hand tools. We are very proud of our finished work product and will be approaching our 10th Anniversary next year.Thank you again for your feed back and I hope I answered some of your question and that you will reconsider working again with Constru Casa. Susan Patlyek, Operations Manager, Constru Casa: susan@construcasa.org

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every year my high school sends high school juniors to Guatemala and through a Google search I found out about ConstruCasa. After completing my first, of hopefully many, partnerships with them I am very pleased with how on top of their game they are from everyone in the office to the workers out in the field. I always felt like everyone at ConstruCasa was looking after our needs and making sure our experience was a good as it could be. Up until now they have been very flexible, accommodating, pleasant, and in general a great pleasure to work with. I highly recommend ConstruCasa to anyone looking to do community service work with a group of high school aged students or any other group!

Randel H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2012 I helped build a house with Constru Casa near Antigua. I was so impressed with their work and professionalism that my wife and I decided to build a house for our Guatemalan housekeeper. In Feb 2013 they build a 3 bedroom house for our housekeeper in Tejutla near St Marcos. We went to see the house and stayed in it for one night. They did a brilliant job and we are very very happy.

Constru Casa build houses suitable for the Guatemalan conditions. The houses are fortified with steel rods as we have many tremors and quakes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I read about Constru Casa, and got in touch with them to see how I could possibly help out. From the get go the communication with them was easy, straight forward and very helpful. They answered all my questions (and I had a lot) I organzied a big fundraiser that raised enough money for a house. Once I got to Guatemala to start my volunteering it was phenomenal. From the Homestay that was organized by them, to the wok site and the workers at the site and the people I met from the organization. Everyone was helpful and friendly. I can't wait to do it again next year and hopefully bring more people with me to share in this wonderful experience.

Donor

Rating: 5

I met Caroline, the director, before she started the project and saw her "building" this organisation. She really wants to help people but also make them responsible for their houses. It's a good organisation whichs helps the people with no other possibilities.

Donor

Rating: 5

Realy a very well organized organisation, which makes the world better for the poorest people in Guatemala!

Giorgio B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The volunteering experience at Constru Casa definitely changed my life and my point of view about real values. This has been my first volunteering experience and it couldn't go better!
Constru Casa is doing a great job in helping people in Guatemala: I worked at the construction site of the school Tess Unlimited, but they have built (and still building) hundreds of houses for poor families around Antigua and in other cities in Guatemala. They also cooperate with other non-profit organizations, getting remarkable results in helping people that live under the poverty treshold.
All the staff at the office runs Constru Casa in the best way, helping the volunteers to get the best out of this experience and allowing them to work efficiently. The staff is a group of cheerful and happy people, really committed to the cause, and really helpful and friendly with workers and volunteers.
The workers at the construction site are amazing people, humble and open-hearted, always ready to share their knowledge, their stories and their delicious home-made food. They work hard and they do their job very well, but at the same time they're very patient and relaxed with the volunteers. They taught me all the secrets of their job, making me feel part of the group, giving me the funny nickname of "El Canche" and playing football all together in the lunch break.
The experience at Constru Casa gave me the chance to live close to the local people, learning much about life and real values from them, changing forever my point of view about life. Getting to know the staff behind this organization made me understand that there are still amazing people out there, that put their resources at the service of families and people that live in poor conditions.
I will never forget my experience at Constru Casa! Looking forward to going back to Antigua and volunteering for Constru Casa once again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Constru Casa was a great organization to volunteer with. Building a house can often be a good gesture, but does not always leave the area a better place. Through their partnership with Common Hope, however, I believe the organization is make a positive difference in the areas they are working. Couple that with a friendly staff, well organized schedule, and the opportunity to work with locals--- its a great organization to work with! On a personal note, the mason, the person at the site who coordinates the building process, for our was a group was amazing. He shared with us his touching past and really made the experience special. We also got the chance to grow close with the family we building their home fore, they kids frequently helped us move bricks and were always around to chat. Great time!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been taking school groups from Australia across to Guatemala for 5 years now to complete volunteer work. Our work with Constru Casa has been amazing and we are very proud to say our school has been a part of 12 of the houses that Contru Casa has built. The organisation on their behalf has been perfect every time, not to mention the support we have received whilst we are there. The opportunity to spend time with the families and really see what a difference you are making to their lives is priceless. Also the Guatemala masons on site are fantastic at involving you in the entire process. This is the most rewarding and valuable time I have ever spent overseas- and to have such a wonderful group there to set all of this up for us each time is invaluable- we could not do what we do without them!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am familiar with many of the non-profit organizations in Antigua, Guatemala and Constru Casa is one of the best. They have established an excellent reputation for themselves having created on the ground partnerships with other non-profits in the community and include the local Guatemalans whenever possible. Their volunteers have PLENTY of work to do while they are down there, but there is always time for Spanish school and FUN. It's a great group and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make sure that what they give back has a lasting effect on the people and culture!

Sarah121

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In March 2012 I took a group of 6 volunteers from Australia, some had never travelled to a developing country before. What an AMAZING experience! Contru Casa made things very easy for us, even from the initial email I sent they were always in contact with me. Meeting us on our first night to give us a plan for the rest of the trip, they also travelled with us on day 1 and introduced us to the families that we were building the houses for.
I have volunteered in a number of countries and with numerous charities - Constru Casa is a very easy first step into volunteering and I would highly recommend it!

Having the ability to build a house for a family within the small amount of time that you are there is the most rewarding!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Six members of designers.in.service from Kent State University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design, volunteered their skills for a trip to Guatemala this past spring semester 2012. The students helped to build a home for a family in need through the Constru Casa organization.
Constru Casa is a non-profit organization that works with partner organizations to build basic housing for residents living in extreme poverty. The families that receive housing give back to the organization by paying one fourth of the total cost over four years and by participating in building their own home.
Although Constru Casa is funded through donations, the students, who are members of designers.in.service, had to raise money in order to travel to Guatemala to help build a home.
“We did a lot of fundraising to get the project off the ground,” says architectural studies alumna.
While in Guatemala, the designers.in.service had the opportunity to work with local master masons and residents. Through this opportunity, they learned how homes are built in different cultures.
“We worked side-by-side with the master masons on the project,” says Harrison. “They build really different than how we build here.”
The designers.in.service realized quickly how much work was involved in the project but knew how important their work was to the family.
“It is important to help countries as Guatemala in building and supplying their people with everyday needs in order to live a more comfortable life,” says architectural studies senior. “I see it as a win-win situation – they win by getting a better home in which to live and we win by gaining a great cultural experience.”
By the end of the week, the designers.in.service had not only finished the house’s foundation, but also established their own foundation of knowledge for projects in the future.
“I learned a lot about construction techniques, actually getting to do things like hand-dig a foundation was really fun,” says architectural studies senior. “I have a new appreciation for hard work and sustainable design. Seeing how a smart design for the third world can be cheaply and rapidly constructed was very cool and puts into perspective a new dimension of design and service.”