Last week I allowed my daughter, Samantha to host the place to donate to and she did a wonderful job. This week I am allowing her best friend Jessica to host. Jessica and her husband, Josh are the directors of an orphanage in Guatemala and are doing an amazing job there. They have been there for the last three years and love what they do. Below she will share stories of the children in the orphanage and pictures.
One thing that she didn’t mention that I would like to is that you can sponsor a child by making a monthly donation of $30 per month. In return you will receive a picture of your child and letters. I know that you see these type of programs on TV and wonder how much of the money actually goes to the child. I can honestly say that in this program 100% of this is spent on the child. It provides, food, clothing, medication, immunizations and education. From this point on the words are from Jessica.
Guatemala is a beautiful country known for its amazing coffee, Mayan archaeological ruins, and majestic volcanoes. But Guatemala has a long and painful past filled with violence and abuse, which have left approximately 37,000 children orphaned and alone (insert unicef link – http://www.orphanoutreach.org/countries/index.asp) Many of these children are orphans of the Guatemalan civil war, which lasted 36 years. Out of this bloody conflict was born the Casa Shalom Orphanage, which is located in the mountainous highland region of San Lucas Sacatepéquez. In 1986, two American missionaries and social aid workers took in a family of three siblings that had been orphaned during the war, and continued to take in children who needed a safe place where they could grow, receive an education, heal from their physical and psychological wounds, and escape the violence that was so prevalent in their country.
Casa Shalom, which means “House of Peace” in Spanish, has grown since then to house over 50 children of all ages, from infants to young adults, who come from all over Guatemala to find refuge. Many Casa Shalom children are true orphans, and have no living family members to care for them. Others come to the orphanage after suffering physical, sexual or mental abuse at the hands of friends or family members, and some are removed from their homes due to a parent’s drug addiction or other dangerous behavior. The sad fact is that several children at the orphanage were simply abandoned by their mothers, left to fend for themselves. This is true in the case of baby Mynor, who at 9-months-old is Casa Shalom’s youngest child. In January of 2010, Mynor was found in a ditch in Guatemala City. He was a newborn, still covered in afterbirth and with the umbilical cord attached. His mother had had him in the ditch, got up, and walked away, leaving Mynor to die where he lay. Miraculously, a group of firemen found baby Mynor before any harm could come to him, and brought him to the orphanage, where he is now a happy, healthy, chubby little boy.
The goal of Casa Shalom is to provide holistic, integral care for all children who enter the orphanage’s gates. First, their physical needs are met by providing quality clothing, food, and a clean and safe place to live. Second, their educational needs are met by teaching them to read and write, and enrolling them in the appropriate level of school, where they learn basic subjects like history and math, and study additional classes like computer and English. Third, their psychological, spiritual and mental needs are met by a staff of caring, trained individuals (including a licensed therapist) who seek to build the children’s self-esteem and help them heal from the psychological wounds inflicted on them by abandonment or abuse.
The orphanage also provides many hands-on learning opportunities for the teenagers of the orphanage, so that they may be prepared to earn a living when they leave as young adults. The orphanage has a chicken farm, vegetable garden, and professional bakery which are all run by the teens of the orphanage, giving them valuable life skills! Many of Casa Shalom’s young adults continue on to higher education, which is paid for by the orphanage. Once a child turns 18, he or she is given the chance to choose their field of study, and trade school or university, and Casa Shalom pays for their tuition. They continue to live at the orphanage as they earn their degree, apprenticing with professionals in their field so help them learn their trade. Right now, 6 young adults over the age of 18 are still living at Casa Shalom, and pursuing degrees in subjects like mechanical engineering, accounting, and business and marketing.
The orphanage has been very blessed since its inception in the 1980’s, but there are always many needs that need to be met. How can you help? You can send a tax-deductible donation to the orphanage via Paypal at the following link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UFQ8X8CU65Z8Q
100% of donations are used to meet the needs of the Casa Shalom kids. For more information on Casa Shalom, you can visit the orphanage’s Facebook page at: http://www.Facebook.com/CasaShalom, our blog at http://www.TheHansonsinGuatemala.blogspot.com, or email us at TheHansonsinGuatemala@gmail.com