Guatemala

Population: Over 15 million
Government: Constitutional Democratic Republic
Land Mass: 42,042 square miles
Currency: Quetzal
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births): 26.5

Chile | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Guatemala | Honduras | India | Mexico | Philippines | United States | Zambia

Guatemala’s nickname of “The Land of Eternal Springtime” is well-deserved; its mild weather and beautiful countryside make it an attractive tourist destination at practically any time of year. Even warmer than the sunshine is the cordial welcome Guatemalans give to visitors, who are received with great attention so they feel welcome. Guatemala produces many of the fruits, such as bananas and pineapples, that are consumed in the United States, as well as being a grower of world-class coffee. The country has a rich indigenous heritage, and people in colorful Mayan clothing are still a regular part of the daily scene. But Guatemala’s paradise-like environment is marred by severe poverty and frequent natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and landslides, making it one of the places where Children International’s efforts are most needed and appreciated.  

OUR WORK IN GUATEMALA

Guatemala City

Guatemala City is a study in contrasts; its modern tourist zone rivals those of large cities around the globe. But just outside those zones of prosperity lie crowded slums struggling with gangs, drugs and violence. The four Children International community centers in Guatemala City offer thousands of poor children and youth a safe environment where they can participate in positive activities that increase their confidence, knowledge and likelihood of eventually escaping poverty.

Rural Guatemala

Living conditions for poor families in Guatemala’s smaller municipalities and rural villages can be every bit as harsh. The mostly indigenous people who live in these areas mostly work the land and live in mountainous regions difficult to access. These remote areas offer no basic services and employment options are virtually non-existent. This lack of opportunity, coupled with deep poverty, makes education a low priority for most parents in these areas. That’s why, in addition to our work in Guatemala City, Children International has community centers in Tecpán, San Lorenzo, Patulul and Chimaltenango, where rural children can be exposed to new opportunities and educational support.

Needy children in Guatemala

HARD TRUTHS

  • Gang violence in Guatemala’s urban areas has escalated to alarming heights in recent years.

  • Over 50% of Guatemalans live below the poverty line, and 15% live in extreme poverty.

  • Poverty among indigenous people is more widespread, with 76% living below the poverty line and 28% living in extreme poverty.

  • 43% of children under the age of 5 in Guatemala suffer chronic malnutrition.

CHALLENGES

Sponsored families in Guatemala earn, on average, around $108 a month. Of this, they spend an estimated $54 on food and $43 on rent and utilities, leaving only around $11 per month for clothing, shoes, education and other basic needs.

Solutions

  • Over 30,000 sponsored children and youth receive help from Children International – Guatemala.

  • Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.

  • Benefits are delivered through eight community centers, and more than half of these serve over 4,000 children each.

  • Over 21,000 children received free medical checkups in 2011.

  • The Youth Health Corps in Guatemala has more than 200 volunteer peer educators who share vital health information with over 10,000 young people per year.

  • Hundreds of children and youth receive training each year in important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and job readiness.

The Full Story

Click on the titles below to watch videos and slideshows or read stories about our programs in Guatemala:

Sabina’s Surprise

Children International

Meet Children International’s very first sponsored child…and see where she is now. More...
October 7, 2008 – Tags: where are they now, update on first sponsored child

A Paradise Without Hope Is Not Paradise
April 19, 2011 – Tags: indigenous community in Guatemala, sponsorship helping poor families

Sponsorship in Guatemala
November 13, 2008 – Tags: sponsorship video, poverty and sponsorship in Guatemala

 
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