Using Circles to Cope with the Eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala


  • Miguel Tello International Institute for Restorative Practices
  • Flor García Asociación de Liderazgo en Guatemala



circles, restorative practices, trauma, natural disasters, community empowerment


On June 3, 2018 the Volcán de Fuego (Fire Volcano) in Guatemala erupted killing 300 people and leaving close to two thousand people homeless and relocated to temporary shelters.  Lava flows buried the towns of Alotenango and San Miguel Los Lotes.  El Rodeo was also highly impacted.


The government, NGO and international response was focused on relocating villagers to safe locations and providing health care, medicines and food, as well as initiating a formal plan to move entire communities that would not be able to live in those high-risk areas again.


However, the emergency response made no effort to listen to the people affected by the eruption or to provide them with a space where they could find emotional support and release some of the emotions around the trauma they suffered.  Asociación para el Liderazgo en Guatemala (ALG), a local NGO that trains NGO leaders in the country, offered an intervention that provided a space for both people displaced by the eruption and emergency response teams to find support in the use of restorative circles.  This article will examine ALG´s intervention and offer some lessons learned about providing circles to people affected by natural disaster and how this can be helpful in coping with the aftermath of such a traumatic event.

Author Biography

Flor García, Asociación de Liderazgo en Guatemala

Executive Director of Asociación de Liderazgo en Guatemala