Facing the Future in Guatemala
ChildFund has worked in Guatemala since 1964.
Since then, we have seen great change and tremendous adversity. Much progress
has been made during the past 49 years, but there is still much to do.
ChildFund President and CEO Anne Goddard is in Guatemala this week, meeting
our local partners, exploring the difficulties faced by the Guatemalan people
firsthand and raising awareness of the plight of children living in the
country's poorest regions.
half of the Guatemalan population lives below the poverty line. Some regions
have fared better than others, but several problems persist throughout the
country, including malnutrition. Almost half of all children under the age of
5 suffer from anemia, and malnutrition is the single largest cause of child
mortality in this age group. Almost 60 percent of children living in rural
areas experience stunting due to malnutrition.
Violence is another
problem facing Guatemalan children. Incidences of rape among children between
4 and 11 years old have more than doubled in the past year, according to data
from Guatemala's attorney general's office. Protecting the rights and
well-being of children is one of ChildFund's top priorities.
During Goddard's trip, she will spend time with
families of children enrolled in the child sponsorship program. Currently, more than 15,000
Guatemalan children and their families receive support from sponsors, but
there are still many more who need our help. Goddard also plans to visit the
"Strong Families" project, an initiative that seeks to strengthen communities
through awareness and child rights advocacy.
Later this week, Goddard
will meet with the leaders of other nongovernmental organizations and local
authorities to highlight the vital importance of protecting children's rights
in Guatemala and will speak on the issue at a press conference to raise
awareness of Guatemala's social problems.
More than 30,000 children
and parents benefit from ChildFund's assistance in Guatemala, and although
this is encouraging, there is still a long way to go before conditions can
improve for the millions of children in need throughout the country. To help
us protect vulnerable children and offer them the hope of a brighter future,
please consider becoming a child sponsor today.