Educational Institutions

Friends of Ninos De Guatemala

Break the cycle of poverty!

aka Niños de Guatemala

Boonton, NJ


NDG provides education that extends beyond the traditional classroom across three levels: students, their families, and the larger community. NDG aims to be sustainable both at the organizational and community level through initiating and supporting social business activities and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.

Ruling Year


Niños de Guatemala Supervisory Board Member

Marten Dresen

Main Address

141 Hawkins Place Unit 378

Boonton, NJ 07005 USA


education, entrepreneurship, empowerment





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (B12)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Ninos de Guatemala (NDG) provides over 500 children with access to the quality education they deserve. Operating 3 schools, NDG partners with families and the community to help children gain "skills for success" that will serve them in both education and life. NDG strives to be self-sustainable due to its Child Sponsorship Program and its two social business initiatives: a Spanish school and a tour operator based in Antigua, Guatemala. While primary school is theoretically free and compulsory in Guatemala, the reality is that the government spends less than 3% of GDP on education. As a result, the majority of public schools are overcrowded and lack proper resources. What’s more, families are expected to pay for their children’s uniforms and school supplies, a prohibitive expense for many Guatemalans as more than half the population lives below the poverty line.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Nutrition and Health Program

Psychology Program

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

We aim to accomplish the following goals within a time period of 10 years: LIVING STANDARDS: we aim to increase the income capacity of our graduates by an order of 2-4. The set of skills we will transfer to our students will enable them to earn at least two times the national minimum wages. HEALTH: we aim to eliminate malnutrition among our students. Furthermore we aim to transfer to our students Emotional Health/Intelligence skills which will give them the ability to control their impulses, think critically, plan their lives and exercise self-discipline. SCHOOL ENROLLMENT: The average Guatemalan student only enrolls in school for 4 years. Niños de Guatemala aims for all of our students to complete high school (14 years of schooling). CONTINUOUS LEARNING: We want each of our graduates to face life and his challenges ahead with a problem-solving, resilient attitude. We want them to engage in continuous learning either by enrolling in university or other learning paths. Learning will give them a source of happiness and prosperity. SUSTAINABILITY: Our hope is that Niños de Guatemala would become a 100% self-sustainable organization. The organization is already on its way with our sponsorship program and social business, which includes Spanish lessons, the Good Hotel, and a local tour operator.

“In five years I see our three schools reaping the fruits of the seeds we are planting today: graduating students who are prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow, equipped with useful skills such as Spanish, English, Math proficiency, and the emotional intelligence that allows them to decide what they want out of life and pursue those goals. I am excited to be part of the NDG Team and look forward to steering the boat through the rough Guatemalan waters.” -Julio Salazar, Guatemala Director Through a five-tiered initiative, Niños de Guatemala is following the STEAM approach to education. STEAM places emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. To achieve its mission NDG has adopted the initiative called Skills for Success, consisting of five sets of skills: - EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: This is a short phrase to encompass physical, mental, emotional and social health. No educational program can thrive without health. Beginning with nutrition, we also strive to transfer EQ skills such as self-regulation, self-esteem, resiliency and goal setting. - ENGLISH SKILLS: By acquiring the ability to speak, read and write in English Guatemalans have a larger opportunity for a more diverse array of jobs. This increases marketability in employees so they can have a competitive edge in the tourism industry, international business ventures, and the ability to connect and network with investors and companies. Our 5 year goal is to graduate students with a CEFR B2 proficiency level. - SPANISH SKILLS: Spanish is the language in which our students will have to function throughout their lives. Acquiring excellent Spanish language skills is absolutely vital for their success. A good leveled reading program is the vehicle to transfer these skills to them. Our 10 year goal is that our graduates will leave NDG reading an average of 2,000,000 words per year. - SCIENCE AND MATH: To captivate our school-aged children, we are utilizing methods of learning such as Project-Based-Learning. Through becoming engaged in these directed projects students acquire knowledge and problem-solving skills. NDG is also implementing a new state-of-the-art Math curriculum that ensures learning Math in a fun and engaging way. - DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP: Our students will acquire technology skills by using it. The schools are investing in new computers, tablets, projectors and internet connectivity in order to allow the students to learn by doing.

Currently, the organization has been running since 2006 and has decreased dependency on the Netherlands through our social business and sponsorship programs. Our organization supports three schools and are striving for a stable number of students to provide quality education for. Our director and education expert, Julio Salazar, believes that the best way to increase understanding and break the cycle of poverty is through education, so he began to study and put into practice different educational theories and techniques. In 1998, he founded Guatemala’s Colegio Mesoamericano, an educational center for both primary school and middle school students. Here he successfully implemented different educational programs, including a Dual Spanish-English Immersion Program. But Julio shrugs off the title of “expert”: “I have been at it for about 21 years and the more I learn the more I discover what I lack.” Through Julio’s expertise and our well-trained teachers, education coordinators, and educated school directors, we are able to provide quality education to our students. Currently we have 30 of teachers employed throughout our schools and 26 staff members employed to accommodate our size to give each student sufficient attention. Not only are we providing education to our students, but we are employing well-educated Guatemalans from the local community to increase their standard of living as well. Our teachers are trained on a monthly basis. After normal hours, our teachers provide extra help to students who have fallen behind in math, reading, or writing. This reinforcement program takes place from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM several days a week and makes an enormous difference in the students’ confidence and therefore their academic performance. We also utilize volunteers with advanced Spanish to participate in this part of the program and provide crucial one-on-one support to our students. NDG has always felt that our programs belong to those they serve. Our projects are directed and run by Guatemalan staff, which helps to create jobs and foster a sense of local ownership. Each school is responsible for fine-tuning its own curriculum and afterschool programs as well as managing its budget. NDG’s role is to provide training, monitoring and evaluation. Through our STEAM-centered program, we are providing a well-balanced education to our students where they are learning skills in technology, language, the arts, mathematics, and science. They are learning innovation through a Skills for Success program where we implement learning methods such as Playnovate. The students come from low-income families and often arrive to school hungry. To keep their focus on their studies, NDG provides a daily snack. We have a steady rate of around 75 students graduating per year and are well above the national graduation rate of less than 20%.

Our goal is to track each student during their school years and beyond graduation. This way we can follow the journey of employment for our students to see the effectiveness and areas we can focus and improve on. The retention rate in our schools is another indicator of our progress. Our goal is to continue a steady rate of retention so our students stay in school as long as possible. We also track the attendance and have social workers in place to track the situations of our students who may be missing school. Our financial sustainability is one of our key progress points. Currently 80% of our students have their education sponsored and our goal is to have 100% of our students sponsored. Also, we are looking at a decrease in the reliance on our branch in the Netherlands so we can increase the revenue from our social business, events, fundraisers, and sponsorship in Guatemala. Our goal is not to grow the number of students exponentially, but to stabilize the number of students at around 525 to increase and sustain the level of quality education offered.

After 13+ years, Niños de Guatemala supports 3 fully functioning schools in the outskirts of Antigua through funding from their social businesses in tourism and Spanish classes, as well as their sponsorship and fundraising program. NDG is continuing to work toward a strategic goal of a stable 525 total NDG students by 2020. They are driven to not just provide education, but to provide quality and holistic education for each student. Therefore, the initial goal is not to increase the size of the program, but to create a stable and sustainable education for the schools. Currently, 80% of the students have a sponsor and the hope is to increase the sponsorship to 100% across the school system. Niños de Guatemala has: - 125 students graduated from primary school - 75 students graduated from secondary school - 500 students enrolled in NDG schools The aim is to be sustainable both at the organizational and community level through initiating and supporting social business activities and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Niños de Guatemala empowers communities in marginalized areas of Guatemala. NDG is achieving this by providing education that extends beyond the traditional classroom across three levels: students, their families, and the larger community. The future for Niños de Guatemala looks bright and starting with these students, NDG is joining in the movement to break the vicious cycle of poverty in Guatemala.

External Reviews


Friends of Ninos De Guatemala

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2015 and 2014
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2015 and 2014
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?