Mirna and the flamed Converse

How Marten met Mirna

In 2006, Marten Dresen, the founder of the Good Hotel, had just graduated in the Netherlands when he decided to take a gap year, backpacking and volunteering his way through Central America. He started out in Mexico City, and then took Spanish classes in Antigua, Guatemala. It was here that Marten met a little girl called Mirna. Mirna was one of five siblings, whose mother was earning and getting by on about 100 dollars per month.

Marten's bio

The flamed Converse

Mirna didn’t have any shoes and one day walking by the local market, Marten decided to buy her some.

These were the most beautiful shoes Mirna had ever seen. And Mirna's reaction made Marten realise that such a small act could mean so much...

Though he had planned to continue travelling, and did not initially have the intention to stay in Guatemala, Marten began to question what else he could do to help. Getting to know Mirna and her family made it clear that he could do more for the future of this young girl, her family and her local community.

So he did.

Marten, together with his good friend Sander, former Spanish teacher Carmen, and sister Annemiek, started a Foundation that would open a first elementary school, Nuestro Futuro, in 2009 the village of Ciudad Vieja. In 2012, they opened a second elementary school, called El Porvenir, in San Lorenzo el Cubo. Then in 2015, a secondary school was inaugurated.

Learn more about Niños de Guatemala

Fast forward

Mirna was a few years too old for the schools of Niños de Guatemala. So Marten and his family decided to sponsor her to go to another elementary school, from which she graduated in 2013. She continued to secondary, and high school, becoming a "perito contador", a bookkeeper, in 2019.

Once the first school was up and running, Mirna's younger brother and sister were able to attend it. And so did many of Mirna's friends and neighbours.

When the Good Hotel Antigua opened, a big part of the staff was comprised of parents of the children going to the Niños de Guatemala schools. And at the opening ceremony, Mirna cut the ribbon.

Learn more about the original Good Hotel