Our Sponsoring Community partnerships provide the resources, energy and political action required to ensure ongoing international accompaniment in Guatemala. Their long-term commitment to human rights and solidarity is an essential component of the longevity and sustainability of GAP. Sponsoring Communities provide financial support to an accompanier and are key members of NISGUA’s activist network. All NISGUA accompaniers are matched with a U.S. Sponsoring Community upon completion of their intensive training and before travel to Guatemala.

During the years GAP accompanied communities of returned refugees and displaced peoples, many Sponsoring Communities (which may be a faith-based group, a committee of former accompaniers or a group of concerned activists) developed deep relationships with sister Guatemalan communities, some of which continue to this day. Today, Sponsoring Communities are paired with volunteers who are selected, trained and go on to work in Guatemala with the international coalition providing accompaniment, called ACOGUATE. Some Sponsoring Communities support as many as two accompaniers in a year, while others pair up with another Sponsoring Community, or provide critical funds for program support.

In addition to being resource partners, Sponsoring Communities are key advocates in NISGUA’s grassroots initiatives to amplify the voices of our Guatemala partners and connect social justice struggles in Guatemala with the same struggles in the U.S. GAP is always looking to expand the base of support for solidarity with Guatemala and international human rights accompaniment through the creation of new Sponsoring Communities; if you are interested in forming a Sponsoring Community, please contact Bridget@nisgua.org.

Current Sponsoring Communities

K/GAP has supported accompaniment for decades, first sponsoring accompaniment in the returned refugee community of Chaculá, Huehuetenango and for the last 16 years providing direct sponsorship and program support to NISGUA’s GAP program. K/GAP stays connected to Chaculá through annual delegations and support of community education and healthcare initiatives, publishes a regular newsletter and hold regular events in solidarity with Guatemala such as speaking tours and educational fundraisers.

Contact person Connie Vanderhyden can be reached at connie.vanderhyden@gmail.com.

LAGOS is a group of former accompaniers and social change activists who support accompaniment. LAGOS works to stand in solidarity with Guatemalan organizations and communities in their struggle for peace and justice. LAGOS holds at least one major fundraiser per year, organizes public presentations for former accompaniers to talk about the current situation in Guatemala, and regularly publishes a newsletter.

You can be in touch with LAGOS through Kay Yanisch at kyanisch@yahoo.com.

MITF is a group of committed activists and volunteers engaged in solidarity work with movements throughout the Americas. They participate in regular delegations, particularly to Honduras, and organize public education events about Latin America. MITF has been providing support to G.A.P. for more than a decade and is currently collaborating with WYGAP.

For more information, contact Dale Sorenson at and learn more at www.mitfamericas.org.

Since 2001, the NH-VT Guatemala Accompaniment Project had a previous relationship with the returned refugee community of Los Angeles and currently sponsors one accompanier. The small group of people from both states has come together to sponsor accompaniment work, and have also hosted educational speakers from Guatemala in New Hampshire and Vermont. NH-VT GAP provides support in collaboration with the Needham Congregational Church. NH-VT coordinates a local speaking tour for their accompanier.

Chris Hansen is the primary contact person and can be reached at marcuschristian@hotmail.com.

Since 1987 the Needham Congregational Church has partnered with Santa María Tzejá in the Ixcán region of Guatemala. Every year, the church sends two delegations to the village, and in 2000 and 2007 it hosted delegations from the community to the U.S. The church supports health and educational programs and other development projects. 135 families from the church are partnered with 135 families in the village for a letter exchange. The church currently provides accompanier support in collaboration with NH-VT GAP.

For more information, write to Brenda Metzler at bmetzler7@verizon.net or visit www.needhamcongregational.org.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA) became a NISGUA Sponsoring Community in 2007. Their congregation is engaged in an array of local activities, including solidarity work with a local immigrant community and community organizing through VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Their commitment to social justice has deepened their work with NISGUA in recent year, resulting in a PAG-specific delegation to Guatemala and ongoing organizational support to NISGUA. Through Partners for Arlington and Guatemala (P.A.G.), UUCA currently provides support for two accompaniers. P.A.G. publishes a regular newsletter and organizing local speaking tours with their accompaniers.

For more information, contact the project coordinators, Chris and John Sutton, at: jds42cps44@verizon.net.

Between 1997 and 2005, SEPA sponsored accompaniers in the returned refugee communities of Santa Elena and Copal AA in the Ixcán region. SEPA remains closely affiliated with both communities. SEPA regularly visits Santa Elena, are engaged in creative fundraising (that includes running a bed & breakfast) to support small-scale development projects in the community as well as scholarships, and work to educate the public in the Oberlin area. They have developed a relationship with students at Oberlin College.

Barbara Fuchsman is the contact person for SEPA. She can be reached at bafuchsman@oberlin.net.