Child Welfare in Guatemala (SASS 375D/575)

Program Dates: March 10 – March 19, 2017

Pre-trip seminars January 28 and February 18; post-trip seminar April 15


Course Leaders:

Zoe Breen Wood

Victor Groza


Approved for: Global and Cultural Diversity credit, Social Science credit for Engineering students, Social Work Minor credit, Elective Course credit


Course description: This 3-credit course is designed to familiarize participants with the culture and history of Guatemala, as well as study child welfare from a community development perspective. All students will spend some time each morning to learn Spanish, followed by guided tours of various organizations. The experience will challenge participants to compare Guatemala with the United States at social, economic and political levels. The program is an intense, small group experience in living, learning, traveling and studying. Students will study child welfare issues, social services and indigenous community practices, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of social policies and human services in both Guatemala and the U.S. The course acquaints participants with the socio-political factors that influence the development of child welfare programs in the nongovernmental sector (private, nonprofit) and governmental sector in Guatemala. The role of the helping professions in child welfare are explored via agency visits, lectures and collaboration with Guatemalan professionals.


Some project site visits include (subject to change):

  • Santiago Zamora, some of the women in this town have established a cooperative in order to demonstrate their skills, to help contribute to the income of their own community and to improve the future of the local children by raising awareness of the importance of education as well as improving the education opportunities for local children (
  • Casa Shalom, an orphanage for disadvantaged children and youth developed by North American missionaries that opened in 1987 and based on Christian principles (
  • Safe Passage, a non-profit organization in Guatemala City that brings hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the City’s garbage dump (
  • Los Patojos, an after school program from children of the community Jocatenango located just outside of Antigua. Students will participate in a service learning activity at Los Patojos (
  • Overnight excursion outside of Antigua to visit ancient ruins, and observe some of the service delivery issues in more rural areas


For more information, contact Dr. Mark Chupp, Director of International Education Programs, or Valerie Rambin, International Education Programs Manager about this or other Mandel School study abroad programs. Contact Nancy Issa for Financial Aid eligibility details and procedures.