Break the Chains of Slavery

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
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Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery
Break the Chains of Slavery

At Asociación Nuestros Ahijados and The GOD'S CHILD Project we work to break the chains of slavery through long-term solutions to the causes. By helping people in vulnerable situations we can ensure that they do not need to make desperate attempts which could lead the them becoming victims of slavery or trafficking in the future.

One of our approaches is through the building of secure housing for families in Guatemala. This year we have built 26 new houses for families in need, giving them somewhere that they can call a home.

One such family that received a house from us this year was the Pérez* family. This young family of five were living in a single room made of canes with a dirt floor in Aldea Chitaburuy, Parramos. The house was separated by a wardrobe to create two small living spaces. The house is isolated, and the family have to cross a river just to get to the nearest shop to buy food.

The children’s mother cooked on the patio outside, next to the toilet and shower. The family lacked a formal kitchen and did not always have water and electricity in the house. The children’s father works in agriculture on a small farm, but he earns too little to buy the materials needed to build a house for his growing family. Other, better-paid work is too difficult to come by. The parents want to give their children better opportunities in life, starting with improved living conditions, especially now the rainy season has arrived and their current house is getting very cold at night.

Thankfully, Asociación Nuestros Ahijados was able to provide just that for the family. Our staff members and volunteers, including our own Founder and Executive Director Patrick Atkinson and our National Director, Miguel Angel Alvarez, worked for two long days to build a secure and dignified home for the family. After three days of extremely hard work, the family was delighted to receive a new home and kitchen. Not only that, but the family also received a new stove and water filter from us.

The family is now no longer thinking of ways to escape their current life or putting themselves or their children at risk. They are overjoyed at their new house and extremely grateful to the Project for the support.

The GOD’S CHILD Project and ITEMP have been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty and slavery through education, housing and healthcare as well as direct intervention. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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In November 2021, we collaborated with Guatemala’s Ministerio de Trabajo to form a new programme called CAIPETI (Centro de Atención Integral en Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil). The goal of this programme is to begin to eradicate child labour in Antigua Guatemala through education.

The 25 children, who our social workers had identified as vulnerable due to working in the streets of Antigua, come to the Project every Friday morning to receive classes from our teachers. These are designed to empower the children as well as give them useful skills that they will be able to use in the future. Many of the children did not previously go to school when they were younger, and need to catch up the learning that they previously missed.

After receiving their classes, the children also pass through our weekly vegetable distribution and receive bags of vegetables, fruit and pizza. They can take this home to their families, meaning that they don’t have to work as much to pay for the family’s food.

One of the children in the programme is 14-year-old John. He lives with his parents and seven siblings in San Anton, on the outskirts of Antigua. John’s parents were just 13 and 12 years old when they had their first child, John’s older brother, and 16 and 15 when they had John. The family is from Momostenango, around 3 and a half hours away from Antigua, and moved to Antigua to try and find a better life. They are just one of many families who take part in internal migration in Guatemala.

The family has just one bed for all 10 of them to share, and so John and many of his siblings sleep on the floor. Their house is rented and consists of two rooms made of cement blocks and sheet metal, although the family does not have enough possessions to make use of both rooms. The landlord only allows the family to have electricity for four hours a day. This week, in addition to supporting John and his brother Presley through CAIPETI, we are giving the family a new bed and some solar lamps so that they can live more comfortably.

There are positives for John and his family, however. As a result of joining CAIPETI, John enrolled in school for 2022 and is in 4th grade. Four of his younger siblings are also studying this year, with the rest not yet old enough to start school. John and his brother have gained a newfound love for studying, and have now got dreams for the future where they can better support their family. We hope to continue to be a part of that.

The GOD’S CHILD Project and ITEMP have been working for over 30 years to break the chains of poverty and slavery through education, housing and healthcare as well as direct intervention. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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At Casa Jackson on the 20th of January we had a new visitor. 1-year-old Alejandra arrived severely malnourished and in desperate need of the medicine and nutrition we provide to help our most vulnerable baby-patients to recover.

At first it seemed that Alejandra’s case was a case similar to many others that we have in Casa Jackson. She was referred by the health centre of Escuintla and was due to arrive with her mother, María. When they arrived, however, we realised that Alejandra’s and her mother’s case was very different indeed.

María arrived at Casa Jackson aged just 15 years old, far too young to be a mother. Instead of playing with dolls she has a real life baby to look after. She was accompanied by her grandmother who told us that the father of María’s baby is María’s own stepfather, who had abused María on numerous occasions. María’s mother, instead of protecting her daughter, had decided that she wanted to continue living with her husband and left María and Alejandra in the care of their grandmother.

In Guatemala the abuse and rape of some minors is an all-too-real fact of life. The people who carry out these disgusting actions should rightly be pursued by the law, but unfortunately that often does not come to pass. It was María’s mother who needed to file an official complaint in this case but she decided not to in order to protect her husband. Not only did this leave María unprotected but also meant that other young girls in the area where the family live do not know the risk that they might be under.

María’s grandmother told us that eventually she had filed the complaint with the PGN (Guatemalan Social Services) but was yet to hear a response. Asociación Nuestros Ahijados will be taking on the case through our legal department to pursue the people involved to the full extent of the law. We will continue to work for the most vulnerable members of our Guatemalan society and do our all to protect the children who are most at-risk.

The GOD’S CHILD Project and ITEMP have been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty and slavery through education, housing and healthcare as well as direct intervention. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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2-year-old Darlyn arrived at Casa Jackson, our Hospital for Malnourished Children, at 11pm on a Friday night after being brought to us by the PGN (Guatemalan Social Services). Her arrival was a complete surprise to us as we had had no warning in advance, but Darlyn’s situation was dire enough for us to know that we had to take her in and help her get better.

When Darlyn arrived at Casa Jackson she was severely malnourished. She weighed just 16 lbs. and 2 oz. and showed clinical signs of long-term malnutrition. We had very little information about Darlyn or her family, and had to collaborate with the PGN to gather detailsabout her life.

At first, many of the staff and volunteers felt extremely sorry for Darlyn and the fact that she was here with us, alone. Little did we know that her arrival at Casa Jackson was a blessing.

We discoveredfrom discussions with the PGN and Judge in charge of her case that Darlyn’s mother had left home at 13 to join a gang and was just 14 years old when she became pregnant. The father was a member of the gang that Darlyn’s mother was a part of, and the ‘relationship’ that Darlyn’s parents had was questionable at best. Whilst pregnant and after giving birth, Darlyn’s mother continued to be a part of the gang and committed a number of offences including extorsion and robbery, eventually leading to her arrest and imprisonment aged just 17 years old.

Darlyn was removed from the gang life and brought to us by the PGN. Some of her behaviours indicate that Darlyn has seen and experienced things that no child should ever have to witness.

Since Darlyn has been at Casa Jackson, her grandmother has reached out on a number of occasions to try and take custody of her. This will not happen, however, as her grandmother’s care pushed Darlyn’s mother into the life she currently has.

Since her arrival at Casa Jackson, Darlyn has gained 1 lb. 10 oz. or 10% of her initial weight and is looking much better. She still has a way to go, however, before she will be ready to leave. We are looking into where she will live when she leaves so that Darlyn can escape the gang life that she was born into. We hope that this new start will be everything that Darlyn needs to live the life she deserves.

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Rosa was born into the most difficult of circumstances, like so many other children in Guatemala. As soon as she had entered into this world, her father had already made up his mind that he would abandon Rosa and her mother, choosing not to provide for the gift of a new baby girl that entered into his life. He walked out on his family, leaving only Rosa’s mother, an alcoholic and drug addict, to nurture and care for her.

Rosa has now been part of Asociación Nuestros Ahijados for nine years, but 14-year-old Rosa’s life could have been way different if not for the good heart of a police officer. She started with the program in the year 2012, when she enrolled in our Dreamer Center school. Things were okay then. Rosa was going to school every day and her mother was taking care of her. However, in 2014 Rosa’s mother started to drink and do drugs again. At first it was not much, but little by little her addiction consumed her, she lost her job, stopped looking after her daughter, and became desperate to feed her substance abuse. So, Rosa’s mother took her to Guatemala City in an attempt to sell her for money so she could buy more drugs. A police officer saw then 7-year-old Rosa walking around by herself in dangerous Guatemala City – she was too young to explain where she lived or how to get home or what had happened, so he took young Rosa into his family’s home and care while figuring out the next course of action. After some time, a missing child’s poster for Rosa appeared online and he was able to safely return Rosa back to other family members.

Since then, Asociación Nuestros Ahijados has committed to always looking after Rosa. Without the good hearts of the people of Asociación Nuestros Ahijados and that police officer who happened to see a scared and alone little girl in danger that day, Rosa may very well have become a victim of human trafficking and child prostitution. Instead, last year in 2020, Rosa started middle school in our Scheel Center school. Although the school work can be challenging for her sometimes, Rosa loves learning and has big goals for her future.

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Organization Information

The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
RINA LAZO
Director of Benefactor Services
Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$49,523 raised of $70,000 goal
 
868 donations
$20,477 to go
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