S.O.S Urgent Solidarity

Committed to helping all our children in any necessary way

 

The Children's Village Project consists in the building of a housing complex for a population of approximately 500 children on a plot of land already acquired by the Foundation, located in San José Villa Nueva. Here REMAR will provide for all the needs of the children and Young people sent to them by the Juvenile Courts: housing, education, healthcare, protection, recreational activities, clothing, etc. and, above all, a family environment of love, acceptance and respect.

The project objective is the integral development of the children, through work in the psychological, emotional, social and physical areas of each individual. Special attention is given to young girls who have been victims of sexual abuse. The Village is specifically designed in order to provide the support needed to achieve the children’s rehabilitation, social adaptation and training, and an improvement in their living conditions in general. Different activities are programmed in order to achieve this aim, and to allow each child to overcome the emotional problems he/she is suffering due to the negative situations experienced in the family home.
Remar Guatemala has made a commitment to help these children in all their needs. The construction of the Village includes specialised areas for healthcare, recreational activities, education and accommodation. A team which offers a full cover, directed by professionals who create a microsystem with well-oriented dynamics, who prepare the minors for entry into the wider world, helping to restore their health and equipping them with the tools they need to live, grow and become productive. They become young girls with self-respect, who have regained the capacity to make decisions and whose personal dignity has been restored.

The minors arrive at the Foundation with an order of internment dictated by a Judge in the Juvenile Courts in Guatemala City. It is the judge who decides that the minor should be sent to the Foundation, because he/she cannot, or should not, live with relatives. Usually the same pattern is repeated.
- The disintegration of the family: Single mothers, with the father absent, or unknown. Mothers with social problems and addictions: Drugs, alcohol, prostitution.
- A lack of economic resources.
- A low sociocultural level.
- Bad habits of hygiene and diet. Malnutrition.
- Lack of schooling.
- Young people and children who live or work on the streets: begging, or selling articles of some kind.
- Young people mixed up in gang problems, delinquency, drug addiction.
- Victims of sexual abuse and ill treatment.
- Pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers.
- Negative self image: Lack of motivation and weak personal development.

Basic objectives To improve the quality of life of 1,000 minors living in at-risk situations in Guatemala, to be achieved through the construction of a care centre to be named The Children’s Village, where, apart from having all their basic needs covered, the beneficiaries will receive a comprehensive training to prepare them for their social integration.

The priorities which have been established are:

To reduce the number of children living on the streets and/or in at-risk situations. To provide access to food, shelter, clothing and healthcare to the minors taken in for fostering. To give these minors a basic education and also a professional training through occupational workshops. To guarantee their future social integration. To promote the mental, moral, emotional and physical development of the minors, through support for their rehabilitation, training and social adaptation and through an improvement in their living conditions with specialised areas for healthcare, recreational activities, education and accommodation.

MOBILISATION OF RESOURCES

Remar Guatemala acquired a plot of land in 1999 with the help of REMAR ESPAÑA, and has constructed the following:

A SCHOOL: With courses in pre-primary, primary, basic, high school, accountancy, teaching, and bilingual secretarial, and with 21 classrooms, a library, a computing laboratory, a typewriting class, and a multi-use hall.

COMMUNITY HOMES: As to date 9 children’s homes have been built: the Amor de Dios Home, the Noemi Home, the Ruth Home, the Milagro Home, the Elisabeth Home, The Judá Home, the Raquel Home, the Raquel Annex, and the Sanisi Home
The following buildings have also been constructed: a kitchen, a central dining hall, a food store, and a two-storey building which houses workshops in carpentry and sewing. Here the Young people and adults have the opportunity to learn a profession and also to make sheets, curtains, tables and benches, etc. for use in the homes. Several containers of humanitarian aid were sent from Spain with furniture, clothing, domestic equipment and educational materials, etc., to help set up and equip the school and the homes. And every year containers arrive from Remar branches in different countries, bringing all kinds of material needed for the on-going activity of the projects. From time to time volunteers also come from other Remar branches to train and support the native volunteers of Remar Foundation in Guatemala.  As to date we have 9 homes which house the children and adolescents, according to age and gender, forming a total group of approximately 280 minors and more than 30 adults who are living in a family setting with all their needs covered. The buildings are large, some with two-storeys and accommodation for 50 children, others with one-storey and accommodation for smaller groups. Between the homes there are recreational areas, each one adapted to the needs of the specific age. The following buildings have also been constructed: a kitchen, a central dining hall, a food store, and a two-storey building which houses workshops in carpentry and sewing. Here the young people and adults have the opportunity to learn a profession and, at the same time, to make sheets, curtains, tables and benches, etc. for use in the homes.

RESULTS ACHIEVED The Foundation has achieved some significant improvements in the quality of life of the beneficiaries, particularly in the following areas:
HEALTH: It has managed to eliminate the children’s problems of undernourishment, to reduce the amount of illness caused by a lack of hygiene, and to maintain a suitable diet for them. The majority of the children, when they arrive, are underweight. Their mothers were undernourished during pregnancy and so the children have a tendency to be underweight and to get ill very easily. In the homes they have access to healthcare; the pregnant women are given regular check-ups at a medical centre; breast-feeding is encouraged; the development and growth of the children is monitored and it is ensured that they complete a full programme of vaccinations; they are given five meals a day; they are taught to prepare the food in a hygienic way and to practice routines of basic personal hygiene

EDUCATION: As a whole, the beneficiary population has received little or no formal education, they are below the normal level of academic achievement for their age, and they have learning difficulties. In the homes they are given the opportunity to continue with or to begin their academic training. As to date, more than 14,000 children have been given schooling and ALREADY more than 4,000 children have graduated at pre-primary, primary, basic, and high school level and in accountancy, teaching and bilingual secretarial courses.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS In general the children come from broken homes or families in extreme poverty, with a dysfunctional structure, emotional indifference, lack of responsibility in the different family roles, negligence, domestic violence and physical, sexual or psychological child abuse; most of these phenomena are related to a low level of education in the parents, addictions and negative patterns of upbringing. The characteristics of behaviour that predominate are a strong impulsiveness, aggressiveness, low tolerance when frustrated, manipulation, emotional instability and low self-esteem.

PROTECTION: Those minors who come from a background of rape and sexual abuse are now able to live in safety, with no threat of violence or insecurity, in an environment that stimulates the development of their positive qualities and increases their capacity to establish affectionate and trusting relationships with others, leading towards a return to normality and personal autonomy in their lives. The young girls grow in self-esteem, regaining the capacity to make decisions and recovering their own personal dignity 

WORK: The minors receive technical training in different areas and work skills, so that many of them, in the future, will themselves be able to direct new projects, such as shops, community homes, families, small businesses, new professional training workshops, free meals centres, new care centres, etc. The Children’s Village is an amazing and wonderful reality, demonstrating the nobility of the human being and its ability to survive in the most hostile of environments. It shows how it is possible to help the most defenceless to transform their lives completely, rising from the deepest and most ignored dregs of society to become part of the driving force of change. Thousands are the number of boys and girls who have been helped in the Homes of the Remar Foundation in Guatemala. Thousands of children have found the loving support they needed to change from being the forgotten ones of society into becoming an active and positive part of the same. These children, now adults, have found their place in the world and are now prepared, personally, professionally and mentally, to become useful members of that same society which once ignored them and which is now amazed to see them so changed.

The Children’s Village is a real, living example of what can be achieved through the power of love and hard work.

 

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