In addition to the school, EDELAC operates Hogar Abierto – a children’s dormitory that acts as a long-term home for 20 adolescents between the ages of 7 and 18. Most of the young residents have a sad story to tell; many were forced to leave their family because of poverty, domestic violence or sexual abuse; others lost their parents in accidents, in the civil war or because of illnesses; others were simply abandoned by their parents.
Hogar Abierto offers these kids a safe, drug and violence-free environment with round-the-clock supervision and support. They are provided with meals, clothing, education, medical care and psychological attention to equip them with what they need to successfully re-integrate as functioning, responsible members of society.
At Quetzaltrekkers, we spend a lot of time with the kids from the Hogar: eating dinner together every Tuesday night and playing futbol every Wednesday night, taking special trips on weekends to the beach, movie theater, or even Semuc Champay (see our picture gallery below!), and helping the kids to learn how to swim or speak english. So much time with the kids allows the guides to develop meaningful relationships with the kids from the Hogar, which can be one of the most rewarding part of the job.