Sponsoring Communities provide resources and energy that help ensure ongoing accompaniment in Guatemala. Their long-term commitment to human rights and accompaniment is a key element to the sustainability of GAP and the years of accompaniment we have been able to provide in Guatemala since the early 90s. GAP staff matches all accompaniers with a U.S. Sponsoring Community before travel to Guatemala.

Sponsoring Communities provide financial support to an accompanier and are key members of NISGUA’s activist network. 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 Sponsoring Communities maintain these ties through regular visits, letter exchanges and phone calls.

Today, Sponsoring Communities work with accompaniers in ACOGUATE’s Regional or Mobile teams. Sponsoring Communities support one to two accompaniers or pair up with another SC to support one.

Sponsoring Communities educate the public about the current Guatemalan reality and participate in advocacy efforts to promote just U.S. policies towards Guatemala. They engage in extensive local organizing and fundraising in order to provide accompanier funds. Some Sponsoring Communities may work on broader political issues, while others have come together to specifically support accompaniment work. GAP is always looking to expand the base of support for Guatemala and accompaniment through the creation of new Sponsoring Communities.

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.

WYGAP is our newest Sponsoring Community, having sponsored two accompaniers in 2014 and 2015. WYGAP conducts fundraising activities in the greater Wyoming community and initiates educational opportunities for Southwestern Wyoming as well as participates in local social justice educational events.

Christiane Dechert is the contact person for WYGAP. She can be reached at cdechert@outlook.com.