Break the Chains of Slavery

by The GOD'S CHILD Project

Julián had always dreamed of becoming a fireman so at 11 years old he went with his step-father to see if there was a way that he could become involved at his local volunteer fire station. The fire chief decided to let Julián observe the work and trainings that the firemen did at the station but warned that he was too young to go out on emergency calls. Julián was excited about this new opportunity to learn more about his dream job. One evening while Julián was at the station there was an emergency call and all of the firemen were called out to the scene except for the operator who stayed back with Julian. The operator took advantage of this time alone with Julián and forced him to have oral sex with him, raped him and then threatened to kill Julián's mother or hurt his family if he told anyone. This happened several times and on the third occasion Julián was able to defend himself and escape and this time he told his mother and step-father what had happened to him.

Julián was greatly affected by these terrible events and came to the psychologist at the GOD'S CHILD Project in Guatemala seeking help. Our psychologist immediately began to provide him with the support that he needed to overcome the trauma he had suffered and our lawyer stepped in to help Julián and his mother file a suit against his aggressor. We are currently awaiting the sentencing of the operator and continue to support Julián through counseling.

Julián's dreams of becoming a fireman were cut short however he still dreams of helping, healing and saving others. Through our legal and psychological support ITEMP is encouraging Julián to keep fighting and to reach for his dreams. 

Please help us continue to support Julián and other victims of abuse and human trafficking. Your donation, no matter the size, will make a big difference in the life of a child who is suffering from abuse, exploitation or human trafficking.  

With gratitude,

Rina Lazo
Director of Benefactor Services


Child abuse is all too common in Guatemala with the majority of children being abused by a family member and most of them in their own homes. The GOD’S CHILD Project works to protect these children from their abusers and has seen over 100 cases of child abuse just this year. Saraí is just one of the children that we have protected and are helping to give a brighter future to.

Saraí is a sweet 11 year old girl from San Pedro las Huertas just a few minutes’ drive from Antigua, Guatemala. Unfortunately Saraí’s life was marked be abuse even before she was born. Saraí's mother, Rosa, was physically abused by her parents and forced to work at a very young age. Lacking love and affection from her family she decided to look elsewhere and found it with a neighbor. He took advantage of her vulnerability and sexually abused her on numerous occasions. Despite the abuse Rosa stayed with him and they formed a family together. Over the years Rosa had two boys and one girl, Saraí.

When Saraí was 9 years old her father began to abuse her sexually as well. Rosa realized what was happening and decided that she didn’t want her daughter to suffer what she had gone through. Although she was very afraid she came to the GOD’S CHILD Project for help. ITEMP took over the case and reported it to the authorities who took him into custody. He is currently in jail waiting for sentencing to see how many years he will serve.

Saraí currently attends the Dreamer Center (a GOD’S CHILD Project funded elementary school) and she and her brothers also receive psychological support to overcome the trauma they suffered at the hands of their father. The family also receives food, clothes, shoes and other basic necessities. Saraí is a bright girl who is a very talented artist. She is an introvert but likes to go to school and is on time and very respectful. She dreams of becoming an artist.

Thanks to supporters like you, Saraí is now able to attend school without the fear of what her father will do to her when she goes home. Instead she can now do her homework, play with her brothers or work on her latest masterpiece. Please join us in giving Saraí and others like her the chance to be children again. Your donation, no matter the size, will make a big difference in the life of a child who is suffering from abuse, exploitation or human trafficking. 

With Gratitude,

Rina Lazo
Director of Benefactor Services


Vilma is a sweet 10 year old girl studying at the Dreamer Center School, which is funded by The GOD’S CHILD Project. She is in 4th grade and at her young age Vilma has already suffered a great deal and has been a victim of poverty and inadequate living conditions, which no child deserves.  Despite of all of her problems Vilma is fighting to move forward and break the bitter chains of poverty through education.

Vilma’s father was in jail for 3 years for sexual aggression towards one of his nephews.  When he was released from jail, he moved back home with his wife and 4 children.  Vilma´s parents earned little income which made it difficult for them to provide their children with proper housing. They lived in one room in poor conditions and all shared one bed. After seeing the family’s need the GOD’S CHILD Project, with the help of a volunteer Service Team, built a home for the family with bunk beds so that each child could sleep in their own bed.

Knowing Vilma’s situation the school psychologist started to see her in order to learn more about her family and help her deal with her family situation.  During one of her sessions with the psychologist, Vilma began to talk about how her father would touch her inappropriately and once the school psychologist learned that Vilma was being sexually abused by her father her case was turned over to ITEMP.

ITEMP notified the authorities so that they could begin an investigation and the father was immediately removed from Vilma’s home to protect her and her siblings.   They still live together with their mother but Vilma and her siblings no longer fear their father and what he might do to them. Vilma continues to do well in school and takes advantage of the free psychological care that the GOD’S CHILD Project has to offer to help her overcome her past and look forward to a brighter future.

Thanks to donors like you we are able to fight for justice and start the healing process for Vilma and other victims of abuse and human trafficking. Please consider continuing your support for ITEMP by making another donation or sharing this story with your friends and family.


Thank you for your continued support of ITEMP!



Director of Donations


An example of a coffee farmer from Guatemala.
An example of a coffee farmer from Guatemala.

Dear supporters and friends of The GOD'S CHILD Project,

Thank you very much for your continued support and prayers for the children here in Guatemala. Without the constant support of individuals like you we would not be able to help change the lives of children who were once abused, neglected, abandoned, orphaned, or living on the streets of Guatemala, like Angel.

Angel comes from a very poor family. His mother has had to work very hard outside of her home since she was a young girl, first to help support her parent’s family, and now to support Angel and his two older siblings. Angel´s father walked out on them when he found out that his mother was pregnant again, leaving the four of them with very large financial problems and few economic resources.

Silvia, Angel´s grandmother, saw how hard this was on the family and how hard her daughter was struggling to raise her children and provide for them while working hard to keep them as safe as she could.

Silvia quickly became concerned about the welfare of her daughter and three grandchildren ever since her son-in-law left the home. She knows that her daughter does not have the resources to cover the expense of so many children, she had no income. The only money she received was cutting coffee with her two oldest daughters in Escuintla.

The family lived in poor conditions in a house with no beds or running water that had walls made of sugarcane, a roof of old corrigated sheet metal and a dirt floor. The only means that they had to stay warm at night was to sleep close together and cover up with the one thick blanket they owned. Silvia says “I used to just cry at night, worried about them and their safety, I wished I could do more and provide them with a safe warm place to live, but I just didn´t have the resources to help my daughter and her children.”

In the end of 2010 The GOD´S CHILD Project found them and provided them with the construction of a new home. It is a small home but one that provides basic security, and greatly improves the quality of life within the small family. They were also provided quality social services through our social workers including clothing and shoes.

Months later our ITEMP program supported the family by enrolling the youngest child, Angel in school. The program is also providing his family with food, medical attention, and anything else that is necessary for his family to begin to break through the chains of poverty.  

Angel is currently studying at the Technical Education Center Scheel and is in sixth grade. He is a very studious child and likes to support his peers in the classroom. Angel´s sisters are studying at the Municipal School of Alotenango and also work to help the family. Overall this family has greatly improved their quality of life and has overcome academic, economic, and psychological problems together as a family partnered with The GOD´S CHILD Project.

Silvia and the staff at The GOD’ S CHILD Project are all very proud of Angel´s accomplishments and look forward to seeing how quickly he is able to reach his goals throughout his educational endeavors. Silvia said with a huge smile, “though it has been difficult to walk in poverty my whole life, it was even harder to watch my daughter and grandchildren suffer from the same circumstances. I am so happy that they are now doing better and are able to see a future that I only dreamt of. May God bless all of the people who have helped my family and others like mine.”

Please help us continue to support Angel and the other children like him that come to us through the ITEMP program. Your generous contribution today will provide the continued education for the once abandoned children. Also, please consider sharing this story of Angel and how he is overcoming some of life’s greatest challenges and looks to the future with great enthusiasm.  As each child grows, learns, and sees that their dreams are possible we are breaking the chains of poverty, one child at a time.

Many blessings to you and yours,


Melissa Schroden

Director of Special Opportunities and Donations


Dear Supporters of ITEMP,

Thank you for your past support of the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP)! Without people like you we could not fight human trafficking and child labor in Guatemala and around the world. Your support not only helps us to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, but also helps us to rescue and provide rehabilitation to trafficking victims and potential trafficking victims. 

Your generous contribution allows us to help many different types of victims - including Sasha and Lucky, who are now flourishing here in Guatemala.  These two young girls were living with their maternal grandmother when ITEMP rescued them from sexual abuse, which was allowed by their grandmother. Three years ago their mother passed away, and their only option was to move in with their grandmother in Guatemala City. She allowed her partner to have sex with them and some of his friends. 

The girls were rescued by ITEMP and are now receiving all the necessary support by the organization guaranteed by the children’s judge. They are now living with extended family, which have 2 daughters close to their ages that really help them realize what normal family life is like.

Their case is still under investigation in the Public Ministry for the crime of sexual assault, but its legal status and protection has been resolved and the girls are now enjoying all of the ITEMP programs we have to offer. They are receiving the benefits of housing, education, food, counseling, clothing, and most importantly a loving family and emotional stability. 

The road ahead for these two girls is much brighter now that they have become a part of the ITEMP family. Though there will be more struggles as they continue to recover, their spirits are full of joy and excitement for what is to come as they grow up. Sasha says, "I never thought that things would change for me and my sister, but they have, and I am so happy that we are able to be with my aunt and her family, and go to school. I always wanted to study but there were never enough resources to allow it. I am so happy now." 

Sasha and Lucky are just two cases of many that ITEMP has been able to take on, thanks to donors like you. We sincerely thank you for your support.  We hope you will consider sharing stories like Sasha and Lucky in order to help us raise awareness of human trafficking in Guatemala and also show how donors like you can make a difference. 




 Melissa Schroden
Director of Special Opportunities and Donations
The GOD’S CHILD Project | ITEMP (Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons)
“Breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation”
Guatemala | El Salvador | Malawi | India | United States




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Organization Information

The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Kendell Martell
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$35,909 raised of $70,000 goal
653 donations
$34,091 to go
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