Guatemala on $5 A Day

Had Your Starbucks Today? The next time you hand over another $5 for a cup of coffee at your favorite beverage emporium, keep this in mind as you take each hot, enjoyable sip: Guatemala has 15 million people; the majority exist on $5 dollars a day, the price of a cup of coffee in some U.S. establishments.  Many more live on $1 a day. 

The High Region of San Marcos, alone, has a population of one million people.  It is the poorest region of the country, the $1 a day kind of region.  It is hard to believe how any survive unless one witnesses it firsthand.

Conscience International’s Community Development Director for Guatemala, Angelo Velis, has witnessed it firsthand countless times.  Although this fourth generation Hispanic-American has roots in Spain and lives in America, his heart is also in Guatemala where his mission is to to raise indigenous leaders to help others rise out of poverty.

“The main source of income for these people is dependent on the agriculture, but here is the challenge,” he says. “The mountainous region is limited in land that is fertile or vast enough to sustain its inhabitants.  It is the coldest region in the country, with temperatures in the winter that drop below forty degrees.  Those who don't inherit viable land for farming are destined to work menial labor to earn that one dollar per day.”  (See previous article “Community Development in Guatemala).

This mountain region also ranks first in the Western Hemisphere in child malnutrition (fifth in the world) and infant mortality. Due to poverty, most children cannot afford to go to school and must work to help assist the family. The vicious cycle of poverty enslaves its people to a life without hope. Angelo knows.  Raised in New York by a single mother and experiencing fear and insecurity, “our family lived the same poverty and hopelessness that plagues Guatemala and other developing nations,” he says.  Because others cared and helped, Angelo was the first in his family to graduate from high school and move on to college.  Now he is determined to help raise others out of similar situations, including many in Guatemala.

 Conscience International’s Community Development Program is retraining people in more efficient work practices to elevate their standard of living and improve their potential for family income. Will you help?  For every $5 you donate, you will be helping to lift someone out of poverty in Guatemala, Your coffee will be gone in a few minutes, but your donations will help build a lasting legacy.  The poor of Guatemala are not asking for handouts; they are looking for help to earn a living.

 Please, consider these needs in Guatemala and DONATE HERE.  Select “Guatemala” under the ‘Special Purpose’ section, or under “Other” and specify your donation for Guatemala Community Development.  All donations are tax-deductible.

For information on volunteering in Guatemala, please contact Angelo Velis at