Latest update

For Guatemala, one of the biggest challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic has been finding enough food and clean water, especially for the poorest communities. To help alleviate the scarcity, various countries from the global community have sent funding to be used as humanitarian aid and help battle food insecurity. Towards the end of 2020, Hurricanes Eta and Iota also caused significant damage throughout Guatemala, adding to the pandemic's challenges.

Local church partners have worked hard to adapt their programs to suit the changing government restrictions. Many child development centres continue to offer smaller gatherings or home visits to slow the spread of the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have delivered over 878,300 food packs and 364,400 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Watch the video below to find out more about the current situation in Guatemala.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up

Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Guatemala?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Many Compassion child development centres in Guatemala have temporarily paused large group gatherings and activities. Staff and volunteers are making home visits to stay in touch with children and follow up on their needs. They also provide monthly magazines with program content so children can continue to learn about God and ways they can take care of themselves. Some classes and activities are held virtually.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Bolivia, although delivery to and from your sponsored child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to keep writing to your sponsored child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Guatemala. Local workers will meet with the child and family to determine the best use of the gift and ensure it meets their greatest need.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for the children, families and local church partners we serve in Guatemala.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would give Luis and his family strength to overcome challenging circumstances and rebuild their relationships.
  • Pray for comfort for Fabi and his family as they grieve his brother’s passing.
  • Pray for strength and healing for Sara's mother as she continues chemotherapy.
  • Pray that Claudia's father would be able to recover quickly from his motorcycle accident.
  • Pray for healing and comfort for Karin as she recovers from her operation.
  • Pray that God would bring peace and encouragement to Jahanes and his family as they grieve his brother’s passing.
  • Pray that God’s peace, love and joy would be with the youth suffering from depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
  • Pray that God would keep the children, staff and volunteers safe and healthy as they resume in-person activities.
  • Pray for the continued encouragement and wisdom of the staff as they serve the children and families in their communities.
Making face masks in Guatemala

Making face masks in Guatemala

When face masks and hand sanitiser suppliers ran out of stock, former sponsored child Yonathan wanted to help the vulnerable in his Guatemalan community.   Read more open_in_new

info

Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in Guatemala operating differently to abide by local guidelines and slow the spread of COVID-19. Our local church partners continue to meet the holistic needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Guatemala

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 12 visit the Compassion centre for three hours a day, two days a week.
  • Students aged 12 to 19 attend the centre for four hours on Saturdays.
icon

Compassion Program Activities in Guatemala

arrow down

Compassion assisted children in Guatemala typically attend the child development centre at their local church before or after school. Older students attend on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Guatemala.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Young children aged three to five receive a preschool Bible, those aged six to eight receive a children’s picture Bible, while older sponsored children receive a youth Bible, then a study Bible.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. They are often provided with a substantial snack during program activities. A snack often consists of cereal and a banana, a sandwich and fruit.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem. Many of the children come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive lunch at the centre. A typical meal usually consists of meat (chicken or beef), rice, vegetables and tortillas. They may also have chicken broth, a piece of chicken, vegetables and tortillas. They often receive a hot beverage called atol made from different cereals like corn and wheat. In the hot areas of the country, they might receive lemonade or juice.

Health lessons - Children learn practical health and hygiene lessons.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, older students can choose to undergo vocational training to build their skills in carpentry, pastry baking, seamstress training, beautician skills, or handicrafts. Some centres have partnered with a government organisation INTECAP (Technical Training and Productivity Institute) to provide sponsored children with the skills they need to become competitive in the workforce. Parents are invited to meetings to discuss topics such as child development and health issues.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Guatemala

52%

of people live in poverty

19%

of people can’t read and write

Poverty is rising in Guatemala, with indigenous people and rural communities most affected. As crops fail in ongoing drought, many families are gripped by famine. Almost half of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished—one of the highest rates in the world.

After almost four decades of civil war ended in 1996, Guatemala made significant ground in the fight against poverty.

Despite its economy being the largest in Central America, the nation is still racked by some of the worst poverty, malnutrition and maternal-child mortality rates in the region—and the gap between rich and poor is growing.

There are many underlying issues: crop failure caused by drought and a changing climate; political corruption and cronyism; a lack of protections for workers leading to rampant wage exploitation; rising violence at the hands of drug cartels and gangs. Their combined destruction has seen a record wave of Guatemalans flee the country in recent years, most headed for Mexico and onward to the United States border.

In all of this, it is the poorest families that suffer most. Many are entirely dependent on remittances sent back by family members who have emigrated to the US—and more and more of those who haven’t gone yet will go soon, unless these underlying issues are addressed.

Local churches across the nation are stepping up to protect their people from extortion and violence, to offer shelter and food where they can, to meet basic needs and provide children with an environment of safety and security, where they can learn, grow and play without fear.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up
Map

Stories from Compassion around the world

04 Mar, 2015

8 Powerful Photos of Children's Rooms in the Developing World

These photos are a fascinating, and at times confronting, insight into the lives of children around the world in Compassion’s program... Read more

14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

It can be disappointing if your sponsored child hasn’t responded to your questions or even mentioned the letter you sent them. Here’s why this could be happening, plus handy tips to prevent it. .. Read more

07 Sep, 2016

10 Eye-Opening Photos of Classrooms In the Developing World

Most classroom in Australia look fairly similar. Although they might be decorated differently, you can pretty much expect to see the same things—some desks, a board, and maybe some computers. But what about the classrooms of children in Compassion’s programs? We all know education varies across the world, but so do the classrooms! .. Read more