We hope this video inspires you to action and moves your heart towards the children of Guatemala.
Share Ur Smile exists to transform society’s leftovers into tomorrow’s leaders by championing the cause of orphaned children.
Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize. Nearly half the population is under the age of 18 and more than 60 percent of the people live in poverty.
It is estimated that there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. It is also estimated that there are nearly 5,000 homeless children living on the streets in Guatemala City (the capital) due to abandonment by their parents who were too poor to care for them. Nearly half of Guatemala’s children are malnourished, the highest in all of Central America.
Overall, nearly 20 per cent of Guatemalan children aged 5-14 are engaged in labor activities. Consequently, many of them are unable to attend school. Children are found in the waste dumps of Guatemala City, collecting items that can be recycled or reused. Some wash windshields at traffic lights, others clean shoes in parks and plazas.
In rural areas, the number of working children is even higher.
Guatemalan children often experience physical punishment and sexual abuse within their own families, which is the reason why many of them opt for a life on the street.
In 2004, some 5,500 young people were killed in Guatemala. Most of them were members of street gangs that predominantly recruit children from marginalized and poor families.
HIV/AIDS infections – generally on the rise in Guatemala – are especially prevalent among street children.
Infant mortality is particularly high in Guatemala, where it accounts for roughly 25 per cent of all registered deaths or 75 deaths for every 1,000 live-births. One of the principal causes for infant death is severe malnourishment.
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