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Parallel World

The British Embassy has, for the last four years, organised the British Ball, a prom British style that seeks to raise funds for charities in working in Guatemala.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Visit to Potter's House
Visit to Potter's House

This year the winning organization, chosen by the Ball sponsors, was Potter’s House, located at the edge of a rubbish dump in Zone 3 of Guatemala City. This is a place tourists don’t see. They invited us to see their facilities, and to find out a little more about what they do and how they used the donations they received.

Some members of the Embassy Team and the British and Commonwealth Association with the Ambassador visited their facilities. The aim for going was to follow up on our work with Potter’s House, but we got much more than that. We got a taste of reality seeing all those families living around the landfill site, where trash is the essence of life: it is what they see, what they work with, what they breathe, and what they think of their whole existence.

It made made us think that most people live in a bubble far away from these parallel worlds that exist very close to us, worlds that are so dark and painful that it is sometimes easier to simply ignore them.

Potter’s House has for 26 years been dedicated to provide spiritual and material support to more than 1,100 families living in this place. They support them with food, academic and business training, medical services and housing.

We heard many stories, but one that completely shocked me was that of a girl who came to CDA at 3 years for safekeeping because her mother had to go to pick up trash to support her and her siblings. At 7 years old she had lost her father, another violent victim of life in our country, and soon after their house caught fire, leaving them with absolutely nothing. While the world seemed to be against her, she did not give up and continued to study. She learnt to speak English and got a scholarship to a private school, finishing her studies in 2012. Thanks to an international scholarship program she is now at a university in the United States of America studying marketing. Any person who has the privilege of knowing her may not even imagine all the adversity that this young girl has faced, but she is a great example and testimony of life.

Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers at Potter’s House who work so hard to improve the quality of life for thousands of disadvantaged people, and to help them accomplish their dreams. If you would like to donate funds to Potter’s House, contact,

Published 23 August 2013
Last updated 23 August 2013 + show all updates
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