About Us

The Maya Childcare Trust in the UK and Maya Childcare Inc. in the USA together fund and support the Acorn Childcare Center in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

This Center provides vital nutrition, care and education for children living in extreme poverty.

Maya Childcare Trust

The Trust is a non-profit organisation, under the management of a committee of Trustees.
It is a registered UK Charity, accountable to the laws and regulations of the UK Charity Commission.
Our Registered Charity number is 1110531.

To contact us, send an email to info@mayachildcare.org or write to us at the address below

255 Hinton Way
Great Shelford
CB22 5AN
United Kingdom

Maya Childcare Trust Trustees Photo
Rachael Rhude CIB Liason
Zoë Rose President
Diana Ker Evans Treasurer
Stefanie Kuepper Secretary
Peter Ker

Maya Childcare Incorporated

Maya Childcare Incorporated, founded in Massachusetts in June 2011, is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity in the US. It works alongside the Maya Childcare Trust in the UK to support the Acorn Childcare Center in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Employer ID 45-4237167
DLN 17053250370002

Rachael Rhude President
Erica Greeley Secretary
Diane Rhude Treasurer
Cara Colgate Communications Director
Barrie Wheeler Publicity Director

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How it all began...

The Acorn Childcare Centre first began as an idea on a rather precarious bus ride from Quetzaltenango to Guatemala City. Rachael Rhude (formerly Rachael Ker) was travelling with her friend Zoë Rose, and discussing her experience working as the volunteer co-ordinator for a women’s shelter in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. She had become aware of some serious difficulties faced by families.

Women often had very poor access to education and the only work available to them was very low paid, usually in the market or cleaning. They had to work to be able to feed their children, but often had no safe place to leave their children while they worked. When Rachael went to visit one of the families that had moved on from the shelter, she found a 9 year old girl at home looking after her 5 year old sister, 2 year old brother, and a baby. The 9 year old was not equipped to provide adequate care for such young children, so her siblings were neglected and she was missing out on the opportunity to go to school. This was not a very unusual situation, and it impressed on Rachael the urgent need for good child care provision.

The idea of setting up a childcare center took hold, and refused to be shaken off. Rachael trained as a primary school teacher in England, and then spent a few years working in a therapeutic, residential school for children who have suffered severe emotional trauma.

With the help of friends, she established the Maya Childcare Trust, a registered UK charity, and began fund-raising. In 2005, she moved back to Guatemala and worked with a Guatemalan friend, who had a business degree and experience managing non-profits, to develop the Acorn Childcare Centre. They first opened their doors to children in March 2006. Rachael continued to work implementing the preschool programme and training staff for two more years. The Centre is now in the hands of a very experienced, very dedicated Guatemalan staff team, who do an excellent job caring for the children and families they serve.

The Maya Childcare Trust continues to fund the Centre’s work, but is now supported by Maya Childcare Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) public charity in the US, where Rachael now lives with her husband and two sons.

The fact that the Acorn Childcare Centre is able to offer such crucial, life-changing support to children and families living in extreme poverty, is thanks to the work and the generosity of many people, doing and giving what they can to help. Every contribution matters, and together all these efforts make a huge difference.

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Meet Omar Mejia Leon

Omar has worked as the director of the Acorn Childcare Centre since February of 2011. Before this, he supported the Centre by serving on its board of directors. His background is in education, and he taught in primary schools for 11 years. He also has experience running a variety of non-profits for the benefit of the local community. He is a father with two sons.

"The Acorn Childcare Centre is a source of hope for many families living in poverty. They find themselves in need and entrust their children to us to support their development. I am very proud to have a great staff team, in which everybody is focused on their different roles so that we give children not just appropriate care, but also inspiring education, love and security. The Centre is also a place which takes advantage of parents’ meetings to discuss and learn more about what it means to be a parent. We share our experience and our hopes for the future of our children.

My dream for the Centre is that we continue with the good work that we are doing, but also have more permanent resources to help parents and to provide a range of workshops to explore ways to be better parents. In the long term, it would be great to have more centres to support more families because there is so much need in our community."

Luz Iliana Polanco

Meet Luz Iliana Polanco

Iliana began working as a preschool teacher at the Acorn Childcare Centre in September 2006, just six months after it first opened. From the beginning, she has worked hard to create a fun and very caring environment for children. She is a teacher by profession but has also studied psychology and has two children of her own.

"Working at the Acorn Childcare Centre has given me a great opportunity to support families in need, and to help children in their personal development. I love spending time with children, sharing their stories, their unique perspective, and seeing how much they develop in the Centre.

My dream is that the Acorn Childcare Centre will be able to continue to help children and famillies in need, because it is really essential in our society, not only for children’s safety but also to ensure they receive attention, education, and nutrition. I also dream that in the future the Centre might own its own building."

Delmi Yomara Sajquim Coyoy

Meet Delmi Yomara Sajquim Coyoy

Yomis began working at the Centre in January 2010. She studied psychology before qualifying as a preschool teacher, and also has two children. Her kindness and creativity help children to feel secure and to be fully engaged in their activities.

"The Centre gives me a great opportunity for professional growth. The experience of sharing in children’s learning and seeing how much they develop in all areas is very rewarding each year. I enjoy being with the children and I learn from them how to be a better teacher and a better mother. I really like that my work helps other mothers so that they can fight to improve their situation and to have a better future. My dream is to see the Centre grow and have other child care centres around the country, not only in Quetzaltenango but in many other communities, so that many other families, especially children, might have this opportunity."

Monica Ventura Gonzalez

Meet Monica Ventura Gonzalez

Monica has been the cook at the Centre since October 2007. She does a wonderful job nourishing and nurturing children. She has four children of her own.

"It has been a wonderful experience to work with the boys and girls at the Acorn Childcare Centre, to prepare meals for them and to encourage them to eat all kinds of food, especially vegetables. In their families they don’t eat such a variety of food or have set meal times.

My greatest dream is that the Centre might have its own building and might be able to continue to give attention and service to many more families for many years to come!"

Olga Leticia Velásquez Chan

Meet Olga Leticia Velásquez Chan

Leti is responsible for keeping all areas of the Centre clean and cared for. She took on this job in January 2009. Her husband died not long after this, and she continues to care for three children on her own.

"It is a great honour and privilege to serve the boys and girls at the Centre. When I am there, I feel like I am in my second home, and I love the children and families very much. I have learned a great deal from my job thanks to the opportunity it gives me to be part of the Acorn Childcare Centre family.

My dream for the Centre is that it continues to grow , because the service it provides is so important, especially for single mothers. It gives them the opportunity to work, which benefits them in so many ways. There are not many organizations like the Acorn Childcare Centre in Guatemala."

Hiram Abdias Mejia

Meet Hiram Abdias Mejia

Hiram works as an administrative assistant. He joined the Centre in 2012 and works part-time while studying law at university.

"I am very happy to be part of the staff team at the Acorn Childcare Centre. Although my work is mainly in the office, I feel that I am able to contribute in a small way to the Centre’s work, supporting children in Guatemala in their education and development.

My dream for the Centre is that it continues for many years and is able to develop its work in different areas such as medical attention for children when they are sick because families really struggle to provide this care due to their financial situation, and also psychological attention in cases of violence and abuse."