Last Updated: 24/09/2020

Guatemala’s government has reported nearly 87,500 COVID-19 infections and more than 3,100 deaths. More than half of the country’s municipalities remain on the highest level of health alert. To help rejuvenate the economy, Guatemala reopened its international airport for tourists on Sept 18. Schools remain closed throughout the country, and all individuals must wear masks in public spaces. A national curfew remains in effect from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Compassion child development centers have suspended in-person classes and activities. Volunteer tutors reach out to each child every week to pray with them, and they report back to the staff any concerns or needs the family has. Frontline church partners have delivered 326,881 food packs and 118,755 hygiene kits to children and their families. Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for 6,708 individuals. They have also distributed art kits and children’s magazines, as well as sponsor gifts to children.

A Message From Compassion Guatemala’s National Director

Hear from Leonel Xuya, National Director of Compassion Guatemala, as he shares an update on how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion’s ministry in Guatemala.

Updated: 20/09/2020

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Guatemala?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Guatemala, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that even if centers are closed and letters and gifts are not being delivered, your child and his or her family are being checked in on regularly by staff. We all look forward to the day we will all be able to gather together again!

Are Compassion Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Guatemala are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are still calling and checking in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 326,881 food packs and 118,755 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

At this point, we are not able to safely deliver letters to children registered at Compassion centers in Guatemala. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Guatemala. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

Compassion's church partners began delivering food baskets to families soon after the countrywide quarantine in Guatemala began making it hard for people to find work or buy groceries. And for many families, those baskets contained loaves of freshly baked bread made by youth enrolled in baking classes at their Compassion centers.

“Teenagers who live close to the center spoke to me with the desire to support the families and asked me if they could bake bread and give it away for free,” says Melvia, director of the Nueva Vida (New Life) Student Center. “I agreed, with the condition that every child who participates wears their face mask and cleans themselves before making bread, to prevent infection.”

The young people worked in small teams of three to obey social-distancing guidelines. “I am doing what I can to support other children with this delicious bread,” says 16-year-old William. “We learned in the center to support others, so we are doing it as we make this bread.”.

Single mother Rosa and her two young daughters, Marjorie and Elena, were grateful recipients of the teenagers’ baking efforts. “The bread was still warm and it smelled delicious when the center delivered it to me,” Rosa said. “I am proud of the teenagers who are making this possible because I see my two girls in the future as them, supporting others. Today, we need the support, but tomorrow my two daughters will help others as those teenagers are doing.”

How can I pray for Guatemala?

Pray for health care workers in Guatemala, as many have caught the virus. Many more have experienced delays in pay, making it hard to care for their own families.

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