Garifuna

Garífuna is a dialect spoken in Izabal (the eastern region) in Guatemala. The people of the eastern region are known for being outgoing, straightforward and yet kind.

Guatemala

Eastern Region

  • By providing training in income-generating skills, Compassion centers work to empower assisted children's mothers. By providing training in income-generating skills, Compassion centers work to empower assisted children's mothers.
  • These third-graders put together a presentation for the other children at their Compassion center about what it means to follow Jesus. These third-graders put together a presentation for the other children at their Compassion center about what it means to follow Jesus.
  • Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future. Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future.
  • Most rural families in eastern Guatemala cook on wood-burning stoves made of cement blocks. Most rural families in eastern Guatemala cook on wood-burning stoves made of cement blocks.
  • Children participate in a lively game of foosball at their Compassion center, where they can enjoy just being kids. Children participate in a lively game of foosball at their Compassion center, where they can enjoy just being kids.
  • Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit. Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit.
  • These second-graders just received Bibles, likely the only book they can call their own, from their Compassion center. These second-graders just received Bibles, likely the only book they can call their own, from their Compassion center.
 
GUATEMALA OVERVIEW

Population

14,647,083

Religion

Roman Catholic

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Eastern Guatemala Eastern Guatemala
  • In this region, people are known for having an outgoing personality. The men are also known for their tough, machismo attitude.
  • Although under the law, women and girls have the same rights as men, they are often discriminated against and mistreated.
  • Domestic abuse is intensified by the widespread problem of alcoholism.
  • During the past couple of years, thousands of poor families in this region, who rely primarily on agricultural labor, have been severely affected by drought.
  • This continuing drought has also affected many plantations, and landowners have had to dismiss all their field workers. As a result, malnutrition rates have skyrocketed.
  • The eastern region is also plagued by drug trafficking, but government efforts to control the drug trade here have continuously failed.
COMMUNITY
Issues and Concerns
  • Because of unemployment rates of up to 80 percent, parents seldom make enough to adequately feed their families.
  • Guatemala has the fourth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. Nearly half of children under 5 are chronically malnourished.
  • Children also commonly suffer from intestinal infections, respiratory ailments and allergies, and parasites.
Local Needs and Challenges

Malnutrition

Children in eastern Guatemala face the constant threat of malnutrition.

Lack of clean water

Families often lack access to clean water. In some communities, people depend on water from local canals, which are typically contaminated.

Child labor

Children are often taken out of school and sent to the fields to earn a little income for their families.

Abuse

Children and women in this region also suffer from a high rate of physical and verbal abuse.

EDUCATION
Guatemala Eastern education
Schools and Education
  • In this region, fathers take their sons to work with them when the harvest of corn, fruits and other crops begins. These children rarely return to school when the harvest season is over.
  • The Guatemalan government has recently offered financial incentives for parents to send their children to school.
  • While this practice has improved attendance, many parents continue to keep their children out of school so they can work and 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 registered at Compassion centers learn skills that will help them in their studies and when they move into the workforce.

Using technology to study and to play educational games encourages their proficiency on the computer.

Compassion’s holistic approach of addressing the spiritual, economic, social and physical aspects helps children develop into healthy, well-rounded Christian adults.

What Compassion Sponsorship Provides

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

  • regular nutritious meals and snacks
  • health checkups and medical care as needed
  • the support needed to attend school
  • cooking classes at their Compassion centers, where they learn how to prepare nutritious food, and after each class, they get to eat what they have made
  • workshops for parents to encourage them to explore non-agriculture-based opportunities for generating an income
  • self-esteem nurture, especially for girls
  • teaching about God’s plan for healthy relationships, to help overcome the culture of machismo that permeates this region

Center workers are also trained to identify child abuse, as well as the proper actions to take if it happens.