Guatemala

La Escuintla Care Centre

Escuintla, a city of 100,000, has a high incidence of domestic sexual violence against children and is a highly transient community – just the kind of environment that facilitates human trafficking. Tragically, justice for child survivors of sexual crimes in Escuintla is virtually non-existent, and child victims of abuse (and their families) have little recourse for justice. Trauma-informed care and other needed services for victims are scarce, and as a result, children grow up carrying unbelievable pain and suffering while crimes against them go unpunished.

Kids Alive, in cooperation with the Christian charity, International Justice Mission, opened the Escuintla Care Centre as a hub for Christian counselling, resources, and justice for minors who have been sexually abused. We work in collaboration with Guatemalan Child Protective Services, district attorneys, and judges to improve legal protections for the children.

Throughout the process, we help represent them in court as well as provide them with intensive therapy as they begin the healing process.

We continue to develop good relationships in the town of Escuintla and work hard to raise awareness for abuse prevention. We are grateful that God allowed us to begin this crucial ministry and trust that He will work through us to bring hope and healing to children who desperately need it. The needs here are vast, but we continue to plant seeds of hope in precious hearts, showing them they are loved and valued.

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La Escuintla Care Centre: A story of hope

Anna’s story*

Anna* grew up in extreme poverty, unable to attend school because her family needed her help at home. Last year, she was walking through corn fields during her errands, when a man grabbed her and raped her. Her family was devastated and reported the rape to authorities and were referred to our Care Centre in Escuintla.

While helping her heal from the trauma of rape, a resulting pregnancy, and the criminal process, we fought for her right to an education. Her father finally agreed to let her study, but she was rejected by the school, as “her type” (child-mothers) would be disruptive. To facilitate care for Anna’s special-needs baby and get her enrolled in school, our team arranged for them to live with an aunt, who lived near a welcoming school.

Anna has grown confident in school and recently made the 5th grade honour roll! She deeply loves her son and has become a responsible mother, all while working to heal from the trauma she endured. Our team continues working to give Anna and her son the best chance to succeed, and we look forward to reuniting the family when it is safe and wise to do so. Even in the midst of tragedy, God is the Restorer of hope!

* name and photo changed to protect privacy

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