by Corinne Yank, GoPhil Communications Manager

Centro Maya in Guatemala was one of the first GoPhil partners to receive a grant from the Rapid Response Fund in April.

This grant was used to assist people with disabilities and their families in the face of the COVID-19 emergency, which left the majority of families out of work, staying home to care for their loved ones with special needs, and unable to access food and other basic needs.


Between April 28th and May 1st, the dedicated Centro Maya team delivered emergency food packages to 75 families with the most urgent needs in the remote villages surrounding San Juan La Laguna. The 75 families were carefully identified by a thorough assessment of their socioeconomic circumstances.

The packages were prepared and delivered in accordance with strict protocols to minimize risks to both Centro Maya staff and recipients. With security checkpoints and travel restrictions in place, detailed planning and coordination with authorities was also required to reach the rural villages where families live.

Each emergency package included bulk quantities of essential food items such as pasta, rice, beans, corn and flour. The packages contained not only food, but other essential items and information as well, including: 

  • Hygiene kits;
  • Two bottles of hand sanitizer; 
  • A COVID-19 contagion prevention manual; 
  • Educational and therapy guides to help parents care for their children or family members with special needs.

Additional, smaller food packages will be provided monthly over the coming months as well – tentatively from May to September, depending on the development of the pandemic.

“During the deliveries, the happiness and gratitude on people’s faces and hearing the multiple messages and words of gratefulness was priceless.”
• Centro Maya Team •

A massive, heartfelt thank you to GoPhil community members who supported the Rapid Response Fund and helped to keep these struggling families afloat during this unprecedented time. People with disabilities are often left behind or further marginalized during times of crisis, so we must continue to focus resources and attention on these groups and the incredible organizations like Centro Maya that support them on a grassroots level.