On June 3rd, Guatemala was hit with one the worst disasters in the nation's history. Fuego, an active volcano in the province of Escuintla, erupted and displaced thousands of people, destroyed villages, and killed over one hundred people with many more reported missing.
Several weeks since the biggest eruption, the victim search has officially ended. Now, local organizations and the government are still struggling to provide shelter and provisions to families who've lost their homes, or can't yet return. Maná de Vida is one organization looking to bring relief to perhaps the most vulnerable people group left in the eruption's wake: children. Maná de Vida is a local partner of International Justice Mission in Guatemala, an organization fighting to protect and ensure children's rights there, and one I know to be doing so effectively.
Maná de Vida offers schooling and mentorship to kids at risk in Escuintla. In response to the disaster, they're moving to expand their services to accommodate 500 more kids, tripling the population it already serves in the province. This is a tremendous leap of faith in a time of extreme loss and uncertainty. Maná de Vida and its partners need funds to provide school supplies, food, and counseling for children who had little stability to begin with.
So why give? First, children in Guatemala are particularly vulnerable in a country beleaguered by violent crime. Maná de Vida gives kids at risk of exploitation and prostitution educational opportunities and a structure in which to grow safely. With no school and no homes, these children are even more susceptible to health issues, danger, and the cascade of effects of poverty. Second, Guatemala is one of our neighbors. There are well over a million Guatemalans living and working in the U.S., and they make up a significant number of people trying to reach this country at our southern border--fleeing violence and extreme poverty. It isn't a stretch to imagine that a natural disaster like this could lead to an uptick in immigration to the States, where families are being separated at the border.
So I think that responding to a humanitarian crisis through tangible relief not so very far from our borders is one that we can all rally around. Having traveled through that part of Guatemala many times, I know how beautiful it is and how beautiful its people are, and also real the challenges that Guatemalans face everyday even without the tragedy of a major eruption.
All funds raised will go directly towards buying school supplies, desks, construction materials and remodeling. They will also aid in paying counselors on the ground working with the children.
Thank you so much for your support and please reach out to me with any questions.