The Corona pandemic and the global economic situation are currently exacerbating Guatemala's general poverty. The population, which has long been threatened by hunger and disease and is largely impoverished, is now suffering even more. The German foundation „Kinderzukunft“ is actively committed to helping children in need through its children's village "Aldea Infantil" as well as nutritional and educational projects. Alexandra Stock, the foundation's project manager, recently visited Guatemala and returned deeply moved.
The people who live in the mountain villages that the foundation helps with its projects face ever-worsening conditions. The Corona pandemic exacerbated an already severe hunger crisis among the rural population. Furthermore, there are currently massive price increases as a result of the Ukraine war. Hundreds of families in extreme poverty receive food packages on a regular basis through the "La Esperanza" and "Monrovia" projects. The women travel long distances and wait in line for hours to receive their package. Some acknowledge receipt by signing; most cannot write and must rely on their fingerprint to confirm receipt. The mothers are so grateful at the handover that they frequently cry. "At that point, I realized how critical this package is for these people - crucial to their survival," says Alexandra Stock, who assisted with the distribution. Guatemala appears to be a fertile country with plenty of food at first glance. However, a significant portion of the food is exported. "Fruits, vegetables, coffee, and other products are much more expensive in other countries. Prices that rise on a daily basis and that the poor population of Guatemala frequently cannot afford, "Alexandra Stock explains.
When visiting a family, the fatal consequences become clear. The mother and her four children live in a community-built room without running water or electricity and in filthy conditions. The father is no longer alive, and the mother works as a day laborer in the fields. When there is enough work, the children skip school and instead work to earn much-needed money. "Our regular package of durable food is extremely important and helps us survive, but it is obviously insufficient to fully provide for the family. Firewood is required for cooking, as well as for other foods such as vegetables and corn, clothing, and school supplies "Ms. Stock reports.Even though her despair is palpable in light of the situation, the mother is most grateful for each day that she has work and food. She adores her children, who should have a brighter future.
During a visit to the foundation's children's village "Aldea Infantil," a completely different picture emerges. Children enjoying themselves on the playground, sliding, and walking to school. In the workshops, the older children learn carpentry, tailoring, and automotive crafts. Some people play basketball or ride bicycles." Every day, these children receive healthy and nutritious meals, are cared for by a loving house mother, and receive education and medical care. "They understand that this is a privilege, because they are all too aware of their country's poverty," Alexandra Stock explains. Before coming to the Children's Village, many of the children have already suffered greatly. Struggling to survive on the streets, abandoned by their parents or orphaned, they find a new, safe home and new perspectives in the Children's Village. Alberto's example demonstrates how successful this "future path for children" can be. He arrived at the children's village at the age of eleven in poor physical and psychological condition. He is now a self-assured young man who studies graphic arts and design, lives in the foundation's youth center, and wishes to repay the foundation, its donors, and society. He lends a hand wherever he can. This time, he assists with food distribution and serves as a photographer for the project visit.
On the day of departure, the entire children's village gathers. Mr. Monzón, the director, finds motivating words in his speech to encourage the children to take advantage of their opportunity to learn, eat healthily, play, and grow. The entire village and the children are grateful to their donors and sponsors, without whom it is impossible to break the cycle of poverty. Sternstunden e. V., a charity campaign of the German TV-channel„Bayerischer Rundfunk“, also contributes to the nutrition projects. The Foundation's donations are critical in alleviating the worst hardships and providing hope. But now, with all of its aggravations and threats, the need for assistance for children in need is especially pressing. The upkeep of the children's village is expensive, and the country's poor population situation is appalling. Many children are malnourished, ill, or must work.
We must not turn our attention away from Guatemala because of the world's current crises. Children, in particular, are victims of extreme poverty. "The gratitude I felt overwhelmed me and reminded me how important our projects are - often even vital for survival," Alexandra Stock says, moved by the experience.
In the coming weeks, a large shipment of protective masks and soaps, as well as vitamins, will be delivered. Because of the current severe Covid 19 wave, this assistance is desperately needed. A reinforcement of food aid and medical care is also planned.
Outside the Children's Village, there are projects for the highland villages called „La Esperanza „and „Monrovia“.
„Kinderzukunft” serves hundreds of children aged 0 to 18 from 220 families in the two highland villages of La Esperanza and Monrovia, not far from the Children's Village. Every month, food packages containing long-lasting, storable foods such as corn, flour, pasta, rice, sugar, beans, milk, Incaparina (soy drink), oatmeal, soy, cereals, cooking oils, and soups are delivered. The children's village staff organizes and executes food purchase, transportation, and distribution.
The two projects, „Helping People to Help Themselves“ - Project Monrovia and La Esperanza - Project Hope, save children from the long-term consequences of persistent malnutrition and ensure their survival through the free provision of nutritious meals. This is the prerequisite for the children to participate in parallel educational programs in the first place, and to build a better future and an independent life in their home country free of poverty and foreign aid. Medical care and additional training for mothers are also part of the projects.
For more than 30 years, the German foundation has been effectively combating child poverty. With its own children's villages as well as nutrition and education projects worldwide, it gives children who had a bad start in life a perspective for the future and also inspires more and more people to participate a global society to achieve certain sustainable development. In the projects of Kinderzukunft, children and young people grow up healthy, secure and safe under good living and learning conditions and are then able to lead a dignified life on their own as adults. In this way, the Stiftung Kinderzukunft fights poverty directly where it arises and at the same time provides sustainable development aid.