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Thomas Carter

British Ambassador to Guatemala

Part of UK in Guatemala

15th November 2016 Guatemala City

Supporting children in Guatemala

This week I visited a British NGO working in Guatemala City with children who live on the streets.

Street Kids Direct ( www.streetkidsdirect.org.uk ) is a British-run organisation which offers a ray of hope to children who live in the markets and on the streets around Guatemala City’s main bus station, known as “La Terminal”.  Founded by the remarkable Briton Duncan Dyason, and funded (in the main) through charitable donations from the generous residents of his home town of Amersham in Buckinghamshire, Street Kids last year opened a new Centre a few minutes walk from La Terminal, a Centre which offers space, peace, tranquility and safety to the children who live in the area.

And of course those things – space, peace, tranquility and safety – are all totally lacking in their lives.  The children come in off the streets and are greeted with great hugs from the Guatemalan and British volunteers who work there, before settling down to a session with a mentor, a cookery class, a computer class, or just to do their homework.  The idea is to give them hope in life, to show them that there is a future away from the misery which otherwise surrounds them for every moment of the day and night.  With skills, increased confidence, and a good meal in their stomachs they stand a better chance of resisting the advances from the gangs.  The gangs recruit vulnerable children who live in conditions of great disadvantage in areas like La Terminal, and then subject them to a life of crime, violence and abuse.


My wife Carolyn and I have visited Street Kids’ Centre several times and got to know some of the children.  But this week we were able to go with them into La Terminal itself to see where the children actually lived.  We met a family who lived in a wooden storage unit with a tin roof at the back of the market.  They invited us into their home.  Ten of them lived there – three generations, including a tiny baby.  They all slept on two shelves at the back of the unit, and sat around a small table to eat, study and live.  They had no electricity, and the floor was earth.  A recent fire had destroyed a whole row of these units, rendering them and many similar families homeless and forcing them out onto the streets.  Street Kids had managed to fund the reconstruction of the units, giving the families once again somewhere to live, however humble.  And the children attend the Street Kids Centre.



Street Kids is run by a group of dedicated volunteers from Guatemala and the UK doing amazing things to help severely disadvantaged children in Guatemala City.  I can think of few better destinations for charitable donations this Christmas than Street Kids Direct.

I say a big thank you to Street Kids for inviting me to visit, and wish them the very best in the excellent work they are doing.  The smiles on the children’s faces at the Centre really says it all.


5 comments on “Supporting children in Guatemala

  1. Thank you so much for accompanying us on the streets! We really appreciate your support for Mi Arca and Street Kids Direct. Thank you!

    1. Emma. It was a very humbling experience but also a real pleasure to see a British NGO and their wonderful Guatemalan and British volunteers making such a difference! So thank you! Tom

  2. It is great to see you British ambassadors getting involved and experiencing things as they are at the grass roots in places like Guatemala and Honduras. Street Kids Direct are doing such a fantastic work, thank you for supporting and encouraging the people on the ground in this way, it makes a huge difference to have people interested and engaged, and being committed to improving the lives of these children.

  3. Wonderful to see the work being down in this country and to have these children so well supported by Street Kids. We follow all the updates regularly and cannot recommend supporting this charity highly enough for the amazing work they do!

  4. Having just read your blog I must say I am delighted that you and Carolyn have taken the time to visit the centre again and have taken the next step in going into La Terminal. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully energetic and enthusiastic the kids are seeing them in the centre when they come from such humble roots. The volunteers show immense dedication and passion which is evident through the kids that come through the doors. I personally feel immensely privileged to have visted Guatemala for the last three years and am looking forward to next year and the challenges this will bring. Thank you for your continued support and your recognition of the good work that is being done by Duncan and all the volunteers.

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About Thomas Carter

Tom Carter arrived in Guatemala in August 2015. This is his second ambassadorial job, the first being as British High Commissioner to Zambia (2008 to 2012). Tom worked on the…

Tom Carter arrived in Guatemala in August 2015. This is his second ambassadorial job, the first being as British High Commissioner to Zambia (2008 to 2012). Tom worked on the London 2012 Olympic Games, and was until recently in charge of the FCO’s global consular policy, working out of London. He has spent much of his career in Europe (France, Germany and Slovakia), but also in Colombia and Thailand. Tom is married to another career diplomat, Carolyn Davidson, with whom he shared the job in Zambia and who is now British Ambassador to Honduras. They have two teenage sons.

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