If you were to observe the Dreamer Center of Nuestros Ahijados you would see the smiling faces of the children as they run around, shouting, playing, and enjoying life. Few people realize, however, the harsh reality that these children have come from. Belmaris Perez is one of our girls who can provide an example of the extreme poverty faced by so many families living in Guatemala.
Belmaris is from a family of ten children. With nine brothers her parents had many mouths to feed and not a lot of money to do so. Like many families from poverty stricken areas of Guatemala, they did not have a lot. They did not even have their own home, but while the Perez family had a dual income they were able to afford a rented home. It was quite small, but in decent condition compared to the countless other places they had called home for the past five years. Some of these houses had been dirty and unsafe, but they provided a roof over the family’s heads.
Mr. Perez does not have a stable job and is only able to contribute approximately Q. 2,300 monthly, which translates to roughly $300 US dollars. Belmaris’ mother, had been working in a bakery, which provided more of an income for the large family to live on, but recently she had a pretty bad accident and was injured. Unable to walk, Mrs. Perez could not afford other means to get to work, further stressing the family’s difficulties.
Yet another concern is that some time ago, Mrs. Perez came across three children who did not have a home. These children, Hector, Cesar, and Astrid were abandoned by their father and had nowhere to go. Mrs. Perez did not have much to offer, but could not bear to leave these children to fend for themselves. She adopted them and they now live with the struggling family.
Belmaris often felt alone in the midst of the many children and parents preoccupied with finding a means to provide. She is an extremely resilient child though. She managed to remain positive the midst of her problematic and struggling household. She always hoped for eventual change and the opportunity for education and success. Mrs. Perez said that she had planned a good life for her children, but was saddened that this had not been successful. She felt hopeless, never knowing if the family would come up with enough money to stay in their house or if they would have enough food for even a day.
When Nuestros Ahijados approached the Perez family they were so happy for the chance to attend school and gain an education, which is invaluable in a country like Guatemala. They also have received economic help to support the large family. Belmaris has received her dream of having an education and has been a part of Nuestros Ahijados for over eight years now. She continues to receive good grades and grow in her knowledge and potential for success.
The Perez family is a wonderful example of the fact that poverty does not have to stop a child from achieving success. There are countless other children who still need help. We ask that you consider partnering with us to provide these children with the same future Belmaris is now enjoying.