Antigua

Antigua

Life in the cities of Guatemala City and Antigua is quite different from the more rural areas. Most people in the highlands make a living through small-scale farming. But families rarely produce enough to meet their basic needs, and poverty is extreme.

Guatemala

Central Region

  • The homes of poor families in this region are typically crude constructions of whatever scrap materials can be found. The homes of poor families in this region are typically crude constructions of whatever scrap materials can be found.
  • These children are learning about God's love during an assembly at their Compassion center. These children are learning about God's love during an assembly at their Compassion center.
  • These children eagerly await the start of their Compassion center class. These children eagerly await the start of their Compassion center class.
  • These boys find a safe haven in their Compassion center, where they are free to learn, have fun and develop their full potential in Christ. These boys find a safe haven in their Compassion center, where they are free to learn, have fun and develop their full potential in Christ.
  • Joining other parents of children at Compassion center meetings, this mother learns the importance and how-to's of protecting her children. Joining other parents of children at Compassion center meetings, this mother learns the importance and how-to's of protecting her children.
  • Sponsored children regularly write to their sponsors. And they are so encouraged when they receive letters back from their sponsors. Sponsored children regularly write to their sponsors. And they are so encouraged when they  receive letters back from their sponsors.
  • Thanks to caring sponsors and a program that is Christ-centered, children have the opportunity to experience God's love firsthand. Thanks to caring sponsors and a program that is Christ-centered, children have the opportunity to experience God's love firsthand.
 
GUATEMALA OVERVIEW

Population

14,647,083

Religion

Roman Catholic

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Guatemala's Central Region Guatemala's Central Region
  • Guatemala’s central region comprises the teeming capital of Guatemala City and its surrounding areas.
  • The region’s rural communities are inhabited primarily by poor indigenous people of Maya descent.
  • Frequently, indigenous families leave their rural communities and move to the city in search of a better way of life. They settle in vast slums where the poverty rate is high and crime is common.
  • The slum streets are ruled by violent gangs, and many children join them at an early age.
  • Child abuse is also a serious issue in this region.
  • Children often are left to fend for themselves while parents are away from home working. Without proper adult protection, these children are highly vulnerable to harm.
  • Although the percentage of children attending school in central Guatemala is rising, many still choose to drop out to work at whatever meager jobs they can find on the dangerous city streets.
COMMUNITY
Issues and Concerns
  • Guatemala City experiences a significant number of crimes against women and bus drivers, along with kidnappings of the wealthy.
  • Corruption of the judicial system makes the crime issue worse and nearly 90 percent of the cases remain unresolved.
  • Throughout the region male chauvinism, the disintegration of the family, and a high rate of extreme poverty contribute to problems.
  • Most rural areas lack clean running water and sanitation systems.
  • High unemployment and lack of variety in diet result in chronic malnutrition, especially among children. Seven out of 10 children under 5 are malnourished.
Local Needs and Challenges

Poverty 

The extreme poverty of the central region affects children the most. About 85 percent of the population doesn’t have enough food, and children are often chronically malnourished.

Drug trafficking 

To earn money, some children work for the powerful drug cartels to smuggle drugs between the Guatemala-Mexico border.

Child sex trade

Human trafficking of children is all too common as families send their children to the cities with complete strangers who have promised to find them jobs. Usually, these “jobs” are in the child sex trade.

EDUCATION
Guatemala Highlands education
Schools and Education
  • The many students who leave school to harvest coffee or sugar in other parts of the country generally don’t return to their studies.
  • Also, the infrastructure doesn’t support enough qualified teachers.
  • The government has recently offered incentives for parents to send their children to school. While this has improved attendance, many parents continue to make their children work to contribute to the household income.

Compassion Guatemala works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Children who attend child development centers learn basic hygiene habits that will keep them healthy.

Families in impoverished countries generally do not know about the value of brushing teeth, washing hands, or covering mouths when coughing. Yet in areas where disease and infection are rampant, these simple activities can make the difference between life and death.

Compassion’s holistic approach focuses on each child’s spiritual, economic, social and physical development.

What Compassion Sponsorship Provides

In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in Guatemala’s central region, providing:

  • regular nutritious meals and snacks
  • health checkups and medical care as needed
  • the support needed to attend school
  • after-school activities to keep children off the streets and away from harmful influences
  • arts, sports, cultural and science activities that help them explore and develop their unique talents and abilities
  • the opportunity to attend vocational training courses to improve their chances of obtaining meaningful, well-paying jobs in the future
  • training for caregivers to educate them about good parenting practices and child protection. Partner church and Compassion center staff are trained how to detect signs of child abuse among the children they serve, as well as the actions to take when it occurs.