COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Guatemala

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Guatemala

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

Guatemala's government allowed theaters, bars, gyms, national parks and some tourist sites to reopen on Oct. 1. Limits on attendance and other restrictive measures are in place in areas where COVID-19 continues to spread, including Guatemala City and most other cities. Schools remain closed throughout the country, and all individuals must wear masks in public spaces. A national curfew remains in effect from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Guatemala has reported nearly 100,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 3,400 deaths.

Compassion child development centers have suspended in-person classes and activities. Volunteer tutors reach out to each child every week to pray with them, and they report back to the staff any concerns or needs the family has. Frontline church partners have delivered 326,881 food packs and 118,755 hygiene kits to children and their families. Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for 6,708 individuals. They have also distributed art kits and children’s magazines.

COVID response in Guatemala

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Guatemala?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Guatemala, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Guatemala are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are still calling and checking in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 326,881 food packs and 118,755 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Guatemala

child reading IconStory From the Field

Seventeen-year-old Sulamita loves being outside, tending to the farm at the Compassion center where she is registered in Guatemala. When she received the exciting news that the staff wanted to establish a farm for her family, she ran home to tell her mother and six siblings.

The center had decided to create 15 small farms at the homes of vulnerable families. However, at the time, they didn't know what lay ahead — a global pandemic, market closures and job losses. The farms would soon become a lifeline for the families, being their primary source of food and protecting them from hunger.

Miguel, the farming tutor at the center, looks back in awe of the timing. "It was like God was telling us to prepare for hunger before it started to increase," he says. "We consider ourselves blessed because we started the farms before the pandemic."

Sulamita and her mother, Julia, had a strong start selling their harvest. "Since my father left us, my mother has worked hard to provide for us," says Sulamita. "She was a seller before the pandemic, selling some of the vegetables for money to pay for school and anything we needed."

While market restrictions due to COVID-19 have limited Julia’s sales, she is still able to grow vegetables to feed her family. “Thanks to God, we have what we need — we have food,” says Julia. “We use the spinach to eat with tamales that I make from the corn, and carrot with rice, which is very nutritious and delicious."

Gratefully, Sulamita adds, “I can’t imagine my life without Jesus and the Compassion center.”

How can I pray for Guatemala?

Pray for staff, volunteers and tutors as they continue to seek creative ways to minister to families still struggling with lack of work and resources. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Guatemala
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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