History: For nearly eight years, DESGUA has been working in the highlands of Guatemala to promote economic and educational opportunities in pursuit of the Guatemalan Dream. We formed as an organization in November 2008, after two migrants by the name of Karen del Aguila and Willy Barreno came up with the idea one day in Central Park, New York. Karen migrated with her family to New York at the age of fourteen while Willy originally migrated to Wisconsin at the age of twenty-three. The realization that Guatemalans should not have to migrate to United States in order to fulfill their dreams of prosperity and success motivated and inspired the reality of DESGUA and our work today.
Mission: DESGUA works to bridge bi-national community networks in collaboration for empowering the people of Guatemala. Together, we are creating fundamental economic and educational changes in order to pursue a dignified way of life for Guatemalan migrants and Maya communities.
To achieve our mission, DESGUA works on changing the root causes of forced migration in order to give Guatemalans the option to stay. Our initiative of La Red Kat offers job opportunities while our projects, like Cooking for the Guatemalan Dream, offers educational opportunities for future job opportunities. La Red Kat supports small-scale Guatemalan businesses and cooperatives by always buying locally. This includes in relation to the restaurant’s decorations, furniture, and food. Furthermore, DESGUA integrates Maya culture and historic memory into our work for social change. We are not illusional about the complex reality that involves migration. We cannot and are not trying to force anyone to stay. We are simply trying to give the people of Guatemala options.