Hanley G. Denning


GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Hanley Graham Denning, beloved daughter of Michael and Marina Denning, devoted sister to Lucas, Seth, and Jordan, passed suddenly and tragically in Guatemala City on Jan. 18.

She was a 1992 graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and attained a master’s degree at Wheelock College in Boston.

She worked with children affected by AIDS in Roxbury, Mass., and taught poor children in North Carolina. Hanley traveled to Guatemala to learn Spanish and better communicate with the impoverished children.

While in Guatemala, she found children scouring the Guatemala dump, deciding right then and there that she was going to make a difference for these children.

Hanley was the founder and executive director of the Safe Passage Project, based in Guatemala City. Her life was an inspiring example of what one individual can accomplish in the cause of humanity if they dedicate themselves, as Hanley did, with heart, intelligence and remarkable stamina to the cause of making the world a better place.

As a young teacher, Hanley saw the appalling poverty that defines the environs of the giant central garbage dump in Guatemala City. The program began in an effort to feed dozens of children whose families subsisted on food and recyclable materials from the dump, and has grown to a school program that is today helping more than 600 students achieve an education and escape the poverty of the city dump.

Safe Passage recently had six of its students accepted at the most prestigious private school in Guatemala City. She never wanted to be the focus of the success, always directing the attention to the children. Safe Passage was Hanley’s life and her mission.

Hanley’s only desire was that the Safe Passage Project would continue to be successful and grow, helping more children in Guatemala and around the world.

In Guatemala, Hanley was known to many as “Angel del Basuero” or the “Angel of the Garbage Dump.”

Hanley is survived by her parents, Michael and Marina Denning of Yarmouth; three brothers, Seth of Washington, D.C., Jordan of New York City, and Lucas of Yarmouth; as well as countless numbers of friends, supporters, colleagues, and most importantly, the children of Guatemala.