By Claire San Filippo - ITEMP Director of Operations
Boy in Garbage Dump
Have you ever been to a garbage dump? 9-year-old Mario most certainly has. Before we rescued him, Mario spent most of his time working in one.
Your first time in a garbage dump in Guatemala is not something you’ll forget. Only one word seems strong enough to describe it accurately: hell. The unbearable smell that almost makes you sick; the vultures circling over the endless hills of trash. And amongst it all, frail, malnourished children sifting through waste, hoping to find something to eat, recycle or sell.
Scavenging in a garbage dump is considered amongst the most dangerous forms of child labor. Fires constantly burn in these pits, creating a toxic smoke that hangs thick in the air and stings the eyes. Exploding chemical bottles echo throughout the dump. Children are even more vulnerable because they are generally unaccompanied or out of their parents’ sight. Beyond the obvious health dangers lies another set of stranger danger for children who are often picked from these locations to be raped or sold into prostitution.
Since he has entered ITEMP’s program, Mario’s life has radically changed. He has been check out by our doctor, regularly visits our psychologist and is now enrolled in school. Not so long ago, Mario spent his days sorting trash and fighting for survival. Today, his main challenge is to get better at reading before the new school year starts in January. At last Mario has the freedom to be a kid; to play, to rest and to go to school. Your donation gave Mario this liberty. Thank you.
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