Our Mission

To improve the lives of those with disabilities now and for eternity.

Our Vision

To make disciples among the disabled who live out their identity in Christ by knowing, loving and serving God


Who we Are

Causa de Esperanza serves as an umbrella association to provide support and leadership to the various aspects of ministry to the disabled begun in 2010 by Pat Duff.  The work here in Guatemala has expanded since Pat began her individual ministry and the new association of Causa de Esperanza better reflects the diversity of areas in which we serve.  It also emphasizes the team strategy we employ in ministry, having paid Guatemalan staff as well as short-term North American volunteers.


What We Do

In the United States, educational and support services for the disabled are readily available--even taken for granted.  Sadly, this is not the case in many parts of the world, including Guatemala.  

To meet the various needs we found among the disabled in Guatemala we developed five different strategies which we use in our ministry:

  • Discipleship
  • Education
  • Job Training & Employment
  • Health Care 
  • Community Living


Discipleship



Our principle method of discipleship is through the development of meaningful, personal relationships with the Guatemalan people we serve.  We follow the admonition of St. Francis of Assissi:

"Preach the gospel at all times.
Use words when necessary."


Focusing on those who are rejected and neglected by society gives us a unique opportunity to share with these people about the God who loves them enough to send us to help them.  The very fact that we see value in them opens the door to further conversation about the God who valued them enough to create them.  

We are often faced with hard questions during these conversations, such as "Why did God make me (or my child) this way?"  We use prayer and Scripture to point them to the truth that we have been created not just for life in this world, but for eternity.  We bring them to Jesus who gave his life to make eternity with God a possibility for them, and encourage them to trust Him as they face the challenges of daily life with a disability. And we walk beside them to discover ways to meet these challenges through the other strategies we employ in our ministry.


Education 


New Life through Education

Three mornings a week, Pat teaches at New Life School, in Santa Maria de Jesús, about 10 km. outside of Antigua on the side of the dormant Agua Volcano.  Founded in 2000 by Judy Kerschner, the school serves more than 100 special needs students from this traditional Mayan village. Using special education techniques, Pat works with about 20 children who are not making progress in the regular, individualized program at the school.


Sponsor Program

All too often children with disabilities are not allowed to attend public school, or when they are, they are met by neglect and even ridicule.  To help children with disabilities develop their potential, we provide tuition assistance for them to attend private schools in their area which are willing to accommodate their special needs.  If this is not a possibility, we hire private teachers to work with them for a few hours a week so they can still receive at least a primary education.

Through sponsors we also provide continuing education for the residents of Casa de Esperanza, who aspire to complete at least a high school education.  This is the first step in empowering them to become contributing members of their community.


Communication Systems

Many children and adults with disabilities are unable to speak orally due to cognitive and physical limitations.  Since the ability to communicate is foundational to any type of education, we work to develop alternative methods of communication for theses individuals.  Often this is through the use of picture symbols which they can use to indicate their wants and needs, participate in simple social communication, and learn to express their thoughts.  When appropriate, sign language is also utilized to facilitate communication.


Job Training & Employment

In a country where jobs are scarce, and the average income is about $200 a month, those with disabilities face unique challenges when it comes to finding work.

While most of those with whom we work are still student-age, we recognize that gainful employment is one of the main goals for their future.  We try to equip our students and residents not only with the academic skills needed to find a job, but the personal and social skills as well as work ethic, needed to get and keep a job.  At the high school level, our students focus on a specific career path and take courses designed to increase their chances of finding work.

We have realized that those with more severe cognitive and/or physical disabilities may never gain competitive employment and are exploring ways to develop supported employment opportunities within our ministry. This will likely mean that in the future we will begin a small business or cottage industry to provide employment for these individuals.


Healthcare


While we are not a medical ministry, a healthy body is a prerequisite to attending school, finding a job or living in the community. Those with disabilities experience a wide variety of physical problems which require specialized medical care. Whenever possible we use the national healthcare system, which is woefully lacking, or charitable clinics such as the one at Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro in Antigua.  Often, though, the severity of the needs of our folks exceed what these facilities can address.

We have developed relationships with a number of specialists and primary care physicians who have a sensitivity to the special needs of the disabled.   Most of these are private physicians who, while often giving us a discounted fee for their services, do require payment. To provide this care which is not affordable for these patients or their families, we have a medical fund established to offset these expenses.  

At times, lack of proper nutrition is the underlying cause of many of the health related concerns of the disabled.  In these instances we provide nutritional support for these individuals so that they are able to remain in their homes and be cared for by their families.


Community Living



Casa de Esperanza

The families of many individuals with disabilities are unable or unwilling to care for their special family member.  Most often these folks live in large institutions such as Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro in Antigua.  Many, however, can live semi-independently in the community if given the proper support and assistance.

In January, 2013, Casa de Esperanza (Hope House) opened to meet this gap in services.  Not a traditional group home, Casa provides a Christian environment in which those with disabilities can live in community with able-bodied peers. These peers serve as personal assistants and companions for our disabled residents, helping them do the things which they cannot do for themselves.


Wheelchairs and Communication Systems


If one cannot get around or speak, living in the community is much more difficult, if not impossible.  If mobility and communication are the problems, wheelchairs and communications systems are often the solutions.

Working in coordination with  Hope Haven International and other ministries in the area, we help those with disabilities acquire wheelchairs and other assistive devices, free of charge.  We also work with Hope Haven at their wheelchair distributions, assessing those who are unable to speak, and designing alternative communication systems for those who are able to "talk" using pictures and line drawings.



These ministries are made possible through the donations of our financial partners.  If you would like to support this special work, you can donate through the Josiah Foundation which funds this ministry.  You can donate on-line at www.josiahfoundation.com, or send a check (noting "Mission Guatemala" on the memo line) to the foundation at:


The Josiah Foundation
2112 S. 163rd Circle
Omaha, NE 68130


The Josiah Foundation is a recognized 501 (c) (3) organization in the State of Nebraska.  All donations through the Foundation are tax-deductible.  Contributions are solicited with the understanding that the Josiah Foundation has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.  The Foundation has been completely supporting the ministry of Causa de Esperanza since we began working in Guatemala in 2010.