Building a brighter future for women in Guatemala

“I always wanted better economic possibilities for me and my family. But the amazing thing is now not only do I have the chance to earn a good living, but I feel I am valuable and capable of making a great contribution to society.”

– Candelaria, Junkacentro graduate

Our work in Guatemala with the Junkabal Foundation 

The Junkabal Foundation has worked in the Basurero community in Guatemala City since 1963. Their projects respond to the needs of Guatemalan women and children who have few economic resources, and support them in their educational, professional and personal development. To achieve this, Junkabal runs three programmes: Colegio Junkabal, Proyecta de Junkabal and Junkacentro.

WONDER has partnered with Junkabal since 2013. We support Junkabal with: project management, mentoring support they offer to women, developing their capacity to engage stakeholders,and building their fundraising capacity, amongst other things.

Skills and vocational training for women in Guatemala 

Junkacentro is a vocational training programme offering high-quality technical education, human development and employability skills. The aim of the programme is to enable women to generate income to support themselves and their families. 

The courses offered through Junkacentro are essential for empowering women in Basurero, as there are limited options for women in the community who would like to develop their career. The local government offers some courses, but they are short and low-quality, and show poor results and retention. Other private academies are inaccessibly expensive, and only focus on the technical aspect of vocational training. These courses lack the development, employability and entrepreneurship skills that Junkacentro offers. 

Junkacentro has a wide range of courses, all of which are relevant to the local market, such as: beautician skills and hairdressing, cooking and hospitality, IT and social networks and the health assistant course. 

The approach to training at Junkacentro is well-rounded, and includes mentoring.  This is important for women who have suffered poverty and trauma. Mentoring empowers women to build self-esteem and confidence, values, work ethic and productivity. The one-to-one support also teaches them how to look for jobs, how to manage finances, and CV training.

Additionally, Junkacentro works closely with a network of companies from the private sector, which host students for internships and job opportunities, and supports routes into employment. 

How Junkacentro is changing women’s lives 

Junkacentro is positively impacting many women’s lives. In 2021, 90% of women who completed vocational training courses began generating income after six months. One hundred and fifty students started new businesses, and one hundred and twenty entered employment. 


When Silvia, aged 39, started the course in Junkacentro, she was unemployed and a single mother, living with her parents and sister. Before taking the course her only income was from government benefits. In June 2021, she began the Social Network Management course, with the dream of starting her own business. After the course, Silvia set up a consultancy agency, supporting companies with their communications. At the moment, she is working for a bank in their communications department. She now earns $500 a month, tripling her household income as a result of the course at Junkacentro. She can send her daughter to school and is the main breadwinner in her household. She is ambitious, and excited for the future. 


Alejandra, aged 15, lives at home with her parents and siblings and is still going to school. Before starting the course in 2021, her family was only earning $500 a month, making day-to-day life a constant struggle, and not enough to provide for the family. Alejandra earned a scholarship to study the hospitality course at Junkacentro, from which she set up a catering business earning $150 a month. She is already increasing her family income by 30%, whilst continuing to improve her education and future earnings.

Author: Tashnia Anam

Corporate volunteering in London Team building

Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.