Guatemala (Central America)

About the country

Compassion partners with churches around the country to help them provide Guatemalan children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

Compassion's work in Guatemala began in 1976. Currently, more than 46,760 children participate in 190 child development centers.

Population: 14,7 millions
Life expectancy: Male 64 years, Female 66 years
Under-5 mortality rate: 3,5%
People with HIV/AIDS: 78.000
Drinking water sources: 92%
Adequate sanitation facilities: 81%
Literacy rate: Male 22%, Female 36%
Population in extreme poverty ($1.25 a day): 75%

Child Sponsorship Program

Child Sponsorship Program in Guatemala

Compassion began its ministry in Guatemala in 1976 as a Family Help Program that was operated by missionaries. The Child Sponsorship Program was started in 1980.

Guatemala was the first country in Central America with a field office, managing El Salvador and Honduras for 3 years. Today we are operating with one main office in the capital city and two satellite offices. The first satellite office is located in Quetzaltenango, and the second one is located in Cobán, Alta Verapaz.

Children are provided with a nutritious snack every time there is an activity at the child development center. The centers also provide special meals for celebrations and extracurricular activities organized by the staff. A typical meal consists of meat (chicken or beef), rice, vegetables and tortillas. Meals may also include chicken broth, a piece of chicken, vegetables and tortillas. Snacks may consist of cereal and a banana, a sandwich with cheese and ham along with chips and a fruit, or a tamale with bread. For drinks, children will enjoy a hot beverage called atol made of different cereals like corn and wheat. In the warmer areas of the country, children get lemonade or fruit juices.

The youth are involved in activities such as community service, organization of children's activities for leadership development, tutoring and vocational training. The child development centers offer vocational training based on where the youth live. Some of the trainings and workshops offered are beauty school, carpentry, pastry baking, tailoring, typing, computing, English, seamstress training and handicrafts.

Camps and retreats for different ages, special devotionals, worship nights with bonfires, and evangelism activities with the community are all part of spiritual development. Celebrations include special birthday celebrations, Children's Day, end of the school year celebrations, Family Day, rallies, graduations for each level at the child development center, Christmas and others. Most of the activities hosted by the centers include a devotional time to seek the Lord.

There are regular parent meetings to discuss each child's progress. Parents are also invited to meetings in which the staff and guest speakers discuss topics on child development like health issues and providing better care for children. Some centers also host parents' retreats.

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