In 2017, the Casa Ester ministry expanded to care for older girls with special circumstances. Our La Arquilla moms (girls who became pregnant as a result of sexual assault and have given birth) arrive at Casa Ester with their child, where they receive education, career support, and child care. We have also developed a program to support older girls who, because of disabilities or learning delays, cannot live independently.
Casa Ester has now opened its doors to older girls who have been forced to leave other facilities and have nowhere to go. Responding to the need for more space, we are constructing a second level on the home, and there are currently nine girls in residence, with three having just “graduated” to living off campus. We are privileged to be giving hope to young women whose lives and dreams were shattered all too soon, but who are now walking forward into futures where their dreams can come true.
For older teenagers who need safe shelter from abuse, it can be impossible to find a place to accept them. Christy* is a victim of human trafficking and carries the emotional and physical scars that come from those desperate circumstances. For a while, she and her sister were living in a shelter that specialized in victims of trafficking, but their experience there was not helpful or positive. Once Christy turned 18 she was not eligible for a government shelter, and they couldn’t find a private ministry to take them both. The sisters did not want to be separated, and it seemed Christy’s only option was living on the streets. Thankfully, someone contacted Kids Alive Guatemala on their behalf, and they found hope.
Casa Ester is one of the few ministries in Guatemala willing to accept teenagers, and we welcomed the girls with open arms. Christy has marveled at the different atmosphere in her new home, where they are not only safe but also encouraged and loved. She often says that she now has the family she has so desperately wanted. Because of the support your gifts make possible, she is attending high school along with beauty school, and is even considering university at some point. The circumstances of her past seemed an obstacle too big to overcome, but we are thankful that Christy found the hope and help she needed to face the future with confidence.!
*name changed to protect privacy
Site partnership 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.
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.