Spanish website 

Una Vida Digna en Guatemala    

A Dignified life  |  Indigenous Culture   |  Overcoming Inequalities  |  Reintintegration of Youth


Colectivo Vida Digna /A Dignified Life is made up of experts in the areas of Guatemalan migration, local and indigenous culture, and psychosocial care for youth and families in rural areas. 
We are part of the Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project – GCRRP, a bi-national network coordinating family reunification and reintegration of unaccompanied immigrant youth who were detained in the United States and are returning to Guatemala.  Our program Youth and Migration was created in 2010 and is based on the expressed needs of young people in order to increase their opportunities in an adverse socio-political context.

We ask ourselves:

How can we help the youth and the communities to have a dignified life in Guatemala despite of the structural inequalities?  
Our answer has been to create a program that meets the personal, cultural, educational and employment needs of young people.  This program seeks opportunities of socio-political participation, stressing the importance of culture and economics. Based on the contributions of the youth we modify and improve the program each year.

 Services available to youth and their families:

  • Family Reunification
  • Counseling & Advising
  • Home Visits
  • Cultural Support Services
  • Regional Training and Capacity Building
  • Work Internships for Generational Transfer of Knowledge
  • Integration in Technical Training Institutes
  • Integration in Schools


For us culture is not a simple set of static elements but a system of interrelations.  This is reflected in three interconnected cultural spheres as follows:



   Youth participant profile

The youth participants are between 14 and 19 years of age and come from the southwestern departments of Guatemala.  Spanish is their second language and they are all, without exception, of different Mayan ethnicities. They return to their places of origin - mostly to rural areas - facing debts that average Q40,000 ($ 5,340.00) plus interest. In the local context, when they do get jobs, they earn around Q500 ($ 67.00) per month due to lack of opportunities and labor exploitation. The lack of resources in the family and in the community means that these youth do not have access to training and other educational resources: None of the youth participants have had the opportunity to complete secondary school studies. Since society does not take into account multiculturalism and imposes a western culture, these youth are excluded and discriminated against in areas of economic and professional development. Equally troubling is the lack of public knowledge of the structural inequalities: they blame themselves for their life situation and devalue their cultural knowledge. It is within this context that our work of reuniting the youth with their culture, nature and the cosmic knowledge of their ancestors begins.

 Colectivo Vida Digna is always willing to share with those interested in learning more.

For more information contact us:

 General E-mail:


Carlos Escalante Villagran, MSc

 Economy and Sustainable Development


Anna Aziza Grewe, MSW

Education and Social Work


Ely López Huinil

Education and Spiritual Guidance
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. 2015


of children and youth returning to Guatemala






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