Alicia* is from a poor town in the department of Escuintla, Guatemala. She started working from a young age to help her parents so she was never able to go to school. At the age of 9 she went out with her mom to sell tortillas and earn a living. As she got older she noticed that her parents had a hard time finding work and she had to look for work to earn more income for the family.
When Alicia was 14 years old she had traveled to the center of Escuintla and at about 10 in the morning on her way back to her house two men pulled her into a car and drugged her. Alicia doesn’t remember exactly what happened after that. The only thing that she remembers is that after drugging her the men took her to a vacant lot and raped her. When the men were done with her they left her near her house.
When she arrived home her mom asked her what had happened and Alicia was ashamed and didn’t want to tell her what had happened. However, a few hours later she worked up the courage to tell her mom that she had been raped. Alicia´s mom was surprised by what had happened to her daughter but there wasn’t much that they could do about it. Alicia shut herself in the house for several weeks. She didn’t want to leave because the neighbors made fun of her for what had happened to her. ITEMP learned about the case and started to help Alicia. First they made sure she had psychological care and then they took her to be examined by a doctor to make sure she was physically healthy. She was later helped with clothes, shoes and was given some economic help.
Alicia continues to receive medical, psychological and other support from the project. She has a job and helps with the costs at home.
*Name changed to protect child’s identity
Magda* is 8 years old and is from Masagua, Escuintla. Her parents never had the chance to go to school because they had to work as children to help support their families. There used to be 15 people in Magda’s family however due to different circumstances 5 of her siblings passed away and 2 have started their own families so now she just lives with her parents and 5 siblings.
The family lived on a plantation called El Socorro in Masagua for 30 years. Five years ago they decided to move to their current home. Upon moving there they realized that to earn money they needed to collect recyclables from the municipal dump of Escuintla.
There Magda, her parents and her sisters picked out recyclable material from the garbage since they were only able to earn enough to put food on the table if all of them were working. The girls were never able to go to school because they had to work. Magda worked from 9 to 5 every day and earned Q40 a day which she gave to her mother. Magda and her sisters collected cans and sold them in the dump.
ITEMP found out about the case and Magda and her sisters were entered into the program so that they could quit working in the dump and get the education that they need so that when they grow up they can have a job with a decent wage. They were also given economical support, clothes, shoes, psychological care and medical exams. The mother was given the opportunity to take jewelry-making and literacy classes. Magda and her sisters want to continue in school and help their parents get out of poverty. Magda´s mom is very thankful for the help that ITEMP has provided her family with.
*Name has been changed to protect the child's identity
This child was brought into the ITEMP program at the end of 2010. He is originally from Guatemala City and comes from a broken home where his parents beat him and treated him poorly due to their alcohol problems. The mother abandoned the home because her husband had an accident which made it difficult for him to work since he was only able to get around in a wheelchair. Due to the separation of the parents no one took responsibility for the children and they went to live with an aunt.
Because of the aunt´s lack of income she asked the children to wash clothes for other people to earn some extra income. As the days went by the aunt began to change. She treated her nieces and nephews poorly, especially this boy who she physically and verbally abused. He worked as a mechanic to help earn more income for the family.
He is currently living in Chimaltenango with his father, sisters and brothers-in-law. He received help from ITEMP including clothes, shoes, educational support, medical treatment and economic support. He also helps his brothers-in-law fixing motorcycles and cars because he has liked working on vehicles since he was little.
The boy´s father has changed quite a bit after his accident and is grateful for the God´s Child Project and all of the support that we have provided for his son when he couldn´t provide for him. The boy is now in 5th grade and hopes to continue to improve his life.
She is a young woman that has had a life that no one would ever want. She came to the ITEMP program because she was sexually abused as a child. She says that when she was 7 years old her mother sold her to a 52 year old man because they didn´t have enough money. Her mother told her to go with the man and that she would go get her later. Years later her mother sold her again and the man abused her in exchange for money. Unfortunately the problem didn´t end there since, later, one of her step-brothers tried to abuse her.
At her young age she had already suffered a lot. She decided to leave home at the age of 14 because she found a young man who asked her to live with him when she was most vulnerable and in need of love. The only issue was that he already had three children but she didn´t care. All she wanted to do was forget what had happened to her.
She has now lived with that young man for three years. Everything was going well until the middle of 2012 when the young man, who worked as a taxi driver, was shot three times with a firearm. He was left unconscious for several days and unable to move his right arm. After being released from the hospital he was no longer able to work as a taxi driver.
In September of 2012 she entered as the 27th member of the ITEMP program. Upon entering the program she received psychological help, medical exams, shoes and clothes, and also economic help to help cover some costs and she was encouraged to continue her studies. She is very happy living with the young man since he has treated her the way a woman deserves to be treated and she plans to marry him and form a family.
The boy was born in Quiche, a region in Guatemala that is known for being poor. When his father passed away he was only one and he was raised by his mother. The problem for him started when his step-father begain abusing him physically and also verbally. He was just a little boy. When his mother tried to defend him she was also a victim of the violence.
When he descided to leave home he headed to Antigua, Guatemala. He know the city becuase he had been there before with his mother. He had never slept on the streets but had to and he also begged for money to buy food. Someone on the street told him about Asociacion Nuestros Ahijados. We have a shelter for women, children and men who are homeless and need a place to stay. He arrived at our shelter in bad shape and returned night after night. We realiazid he had no where to go so Asociacion Nuestros Ahijados descided to help him but placing him in a foster family home.
When we investigated his life we found out that he changed his name. He did this to become someone else and forget the past. It is very difficult to forget the violence from his past but at least he was safe now.
After putting his in a foster home we descided to put him in out Human Trafficking program so he could receive more help from our progam. We reallocated him to a home in a nearby town and he is going to school. He is happier now and like the family that he is living with. He doesn't need to change his name to hide his life now, that is all now in the past.
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