Asociacion Guatemalteca por el Autismo (AGUA) is a private non-profit initiative that seeks to provide a comprehensive response to a neurological disorder that affects more than 160,000 persons in Guatemala. This condition is virtually unknown to Guatemalan society and, as such, it becomes invisible.
The organization was founded in 2012 by a group of parents and professionals that were close to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. They perceived how these children captivated with their inner greatness and showed their personal strengths.
Since its formation, the organization’s objective has been to provide service to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and their families. This goal is the key driver that led to the creation of Programa Educativo Terapeutico Potenciales. This program was created by the organization and it incorporates various forms of intervention, designed to the individual needs of each child or teenager and their family. Potenciales started on February 6th, 2012, in a limited space provided by one of the founding partners, with two children and three volunteer professionals. By May of that year the program had four children and by December there were six children and four hired professionals within a rented physical space, specially designed to provide dignified care.
Actually, Potenciales is giving treatment to 12 children and is reaching its goal to offer them and their families hope to change their lives through the power of affection. Additionally, during the past two years the organization has implemented information and awareness actions aimed to Guatemalan population through written media and TV, on autism and the importance of inclusion.
During these two years, AGUA has conducted annual fund-raising events on a permanent basis, through which we obtain financial resources to provide the services offered. We have also created sponsorship programs for children and mentoring from businesses and private persons. Our dream is to keep growing and help more persons with autism in Guatemala. It will not be easy, but we believe that with everyone’s support, and one child at a time, we can reach all.