The founder and director of Constru Casa, Caroline van Heerde, arrived in Guatemala from the Netherlands in 2000. After working in various projects and social organizations, she realized she could make a difference to improve the lives of families living in extreme poverty. In 2004 her thought became reality as Constru Casa was born with the construction of the first 10 houses. Over the years, Caroline has built an extensive network in Guatemala, and also established ties in the US and Holland, enabling Constru Casa to grow into the organization it is today.
Caroline previously worked as a civil engineer in the Netherlands for the Nationale Woningraad and various housing corporations. She spent five years working for the Dutch Railways as a project manager and consultant regarding upkeep of buildings and housing policy. She speaks Dutch, Spanish and English.
When asked what drove her to start Constru Casa, she says, “I had worked for various organizations and construction projects in Guatemala and I saw the immense need for adequate housing for many of the families living here in extreme poverty. I realized that with my background, experience and the connections I had made in Holland, we could begin to provide these families with an opportunity toward a better future.”
Caroline is proud that since 2004, Constru Casa has been recognized nationally and internationally, and developed into what it is now: a dynamic and energetic organization with a dedicated group of people from all over the world, helping families and communities in building a better life and progressing in their futures.
“I still see many opportunities for us as an organization to continue working in alliance with other local organizations that are dynamic in their respective fields helping families and communities,” says Caroline, “This holistic approach has kept things interesting and challenging for the organization and myself, as well.”