The Casa Hogar (Spanish for „residential home“) Estudiantil ASOL was founded by the already retired Austrian teacher Werner Römich and the Guatemalan founder and former principal of the Colegio Viena, Marco Roca in 1989. The whole enterprise came into being through funds mainly raised by the Austrian organisations solidarity with Latin America Styria (SOL Steiermark), Upper Austria (SOL Oberösterreich), Vienna (SOL Wien) and the federal state governments of Upper Austria, Styria and Tirol. In its beginnings the costs were covered by donations from abroad, but also from Guatemalan institutions. It was not until the end of 1997 that private persons started sponsoring the children, covering the monthly expenses of their „adopted“ children and they have been doing so ever since.
In 1990 the Casa Hogar Estudiantil ASOL was first set up in an old house in zone 1 of the capital city accomodating seven children, all of whom went to the Colegio Viena thanks to scholarships. In 1992 the Guatemalan association Asociacion Solidaridad para la Educación y la Cultura – ASOL was legally founded, which has been the project executing organization up to the present day. In the course of the following two years the project kept growing. Due to lack of space and the proximity to the Colegio Viena in 16, moving to this zone was the next logical step. After finishing the building on the new site, the plot of land was further developed. An in-house well was dug and electricity was set up. In the course of the following years, a concreted sports ground, which is used as basketball, football and volleyball field was constructed additionally with the help of the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria (sports department) and the Austrian Ministry of Education, Arts and Sports (BMUKS). Another milestone in the history of the Casa Hogar was the installation of solar collectors, which was also financed by the latter authority in 1997 ensuring a continuous warm-water supply for the Casa Hogar ever since. In 2009 the latest development was to add a second floor to the main building, which had only consisted of one floor up to then, financed by the federal state government of Styria. All these steps were necessary in order to cope with the continuously increasing number of children. There is currently space for about 30 children and adolescents.
Since its foundation in 1989 the Casa Hogar was run by Marco Roca until 2005. Jorge Efrain Pérez was responsible for the management between 2005 and 2011. Since then his wife, Martha Rosales de Pérez, has been in charge. She has to report to the board of directors that dictates the strategies to be adopted. Since 1995 the management has been aided with the daily work of taking care of the children by volunteers. Among those voluntary workers used to be young men from Germany who were fulfilling their community service abroad. Since the end of the nineties the Casa Hogar has colaborated with the Austrian Association of Community Services Abroad, which dispatches one person carrying out alternative community service there every year. In addition, the team is complemented with two to three further volunteers.
The Casa Hogar can already look back on a history of almost one quarter of a century, in the course of which more than 80 success stories have emerged. Therefore, the Casa Hogar is proud of the doctors, teachers, lawyers and attorneys whose educational foundations were laid in this institution. But these achievements have only been made possible through all the sponsors and all of those who have supported the Casa Hogar in whichever way.
Considering everything that has been mentioned up to now, we hope that also in years to come numerous people will be willing to provide their help and, in doing so, give Guatemalan kids and adolescents a chance for a solid education and, consequently, a better future.