Guatemala is home to over 17 million people with a vibrant mix of Spanish and Mayan cultures and boasts a beautiful and unique ecosystem. But much of the country is mired in poverty, systemic family violence, and child trafficking. One-fourth of the country’s population live in extreme poverty, resulting in one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world for children under five.
Physical and sexual abuse is rampant, and few perpetrators are brought to justice. Many children, mostly young girls, are at risk for dangerous child labor and forced prostitution. And hundreds of thousands of schoolaged children are not in school at all. The needs here are staggering.
Even in situations that seem hopeless, Kids Alive is committed to rescuing victims of heart-breaking abuse and showing them their inherent worth and potential. The wounded girls we serve need safety, stability, and intensive counseling as they heal from trauma.
Our ministries are witnessing life-changing results. A local church partners with us in bringing tangible support to children in the remote Zapote area of Guatemala, offering food, education, and family services. And we recently received government approval and assistance to begin our new Families Together program, the first of its kind in Guatemala.
Christian house parents provide a loving, safe environment for these rescued girls. Quality education and trauma-focused therapy help them adjust to life away from their abusers and begin to rebuild their lives. Additionally, we provide legal support while pursuing justice on their behalf. Guatemala currently convicts only about 6% of sexual abuse cases, but we have helped convict 70% of our girls’ abusers.
Site partnership also allows for services that reach beyond the basics of what child sponsorship provides, supplying resources for trauma training and therapy, nutritionists, social workers, educational counselors, discipleship, and more.