Completed Partnerships: Centro Maya

Centro Maya Servicio Integral (“Centro Maya”) has been working to promote the rights of people with special needs in Guatemala for over three decades. Providing basic services for the progress and development of citizens with disabilities is technically a responsibility of the Guatemalan government; in reality, these services unfortunately remain non-existent, particularly in rural, indigenous areas. Centro Maya not only steps in to provide these integral services around the Lake Atitlan and surrounding areas, but advocates politically for disability rights and more widespread, government services.

Centro Maya, formerly known as “Candela”, was originally set up by a French benefactor, Felipe Mattiot, who realized there was a strong need for a rehabilitation center due to the severe lack of related services. After Felipe left the country in 2004, the organization restructured and became Centro Maya, a rehabilitation center run by local people who understood the real needs of the indigenous population and context. Over the years, Centro Maya expanded to provide more services such as special education, language therapy, occupational therapy, art therapy and labor inclusion programs.

Centro Maya works to empower people with disabilities and provide them with the confidence and skills they need to be independent, autonomous, participate in their communities and become actors of change.


GoPhil and Centro Maya partnered from 2016 till 2021. During these years, the GoPhil community contributed to the enhancement and expansion of Centro Maya programs by providing support for:

  • A series of educational workshops for parents and caregivers of children living with disabilities aimed at improving their awareness and ability to provide adequate care at home.
  • Workshops for young adults living with disabilities on topics such as: Human Rights & Disability, Gender Equity, Indigenous and Labor Rights, Body Expression & Self-Esteem, Personal Growth, Sex Education and more.
  • Additional benefits for Centro Maya staff members, such as training and access to counseling and psychology.
  • Running costs of the Nutrition Program including funds for snacks, meals, nutrition classes and related activities.
  • Provision of nutritional workshops and regular health screenings through the Nutrition Program.
  • Running costs of the Music Program, including music teacher salaries, the purchase of musical instruments and related transportation costs.
  • Outfitting of the Occupational Therapy room with equipment to allow therapists to prepare participants to function as independently as possible and to identify adaptations they might need to participate in the Labor Inclusion Program.
  • Repair of the Centro Maya roof to address problems such as leakages, flooding and moldy walls in the Special Education classrooms, Physical and Language Therapy labs, administrative offices, bathrooms and the main corridor.
  • Emergency grants for food relief, health and hygiene products and medicines during Covid outbreaks.