Camino Canicas was founded by Kanika Batra in 2016 in the indigenous Kaqchikel and Tz’utujil Mayan region of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This grassroots initiative focuses on providing trauma-informed expressive arts education. It aims to create safe spaces for children from under-resourced families affected by trauma, neglect, and addiction. The work in Guatemala currently serves around 20 indigenous children and their families. 

Camino Canicas is unique in that the work began on a request by the children and it continues because they ask for it. The process starts by identifying at-risk children, creating rapport with them and their families, and bringing them into safer spaces that offer developmentally appropriate environments and activities. Camino Canicas simultaneously works with families to make their homes safer and more resourced. The program offers art, stories, theater, play, and social-emotional learning tools through a rite of passage framework that expands the children’s resourcing tools and allows them to make life-affirming meaning, all while learning to both express and self-regulate themselves. 

“When the rockslide hit our village last year, leaving so many families and children with deep trauma to process and integrate, Golden Girls Global sent funds so we could rent a safe space for the children, buy warm clothes and create a safe space for them to be held and guided in their process of reestablishing safety. As I held all this together here, I was being simultaneously held and supported by the therapeutic team at Golden Girls Global so I could continue my work on the frontlines in an integrated way. I am so deeply grateful for the support - financial and emotional. It is a deep resource to know that I have this wise and compassionate community holding me in such a precious way. It feeds my resilience, so I may share that forward. Thank you.” ~ Kanika Batra, Founder, Camino Canicas




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