Reporting and video by ChildFund Guatemala
Over the course of January’s 31 days, we’re making a blog stop in each country where we serve children, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and donors. Today we are inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of youth leaders in ChildFund Guatemala’s programs.
As a country, Guatemala is struggling to recover from a long history of internal strife. Although civil society is improving, years of conflict have exacted a price on the young, who are often overlooked and unprotected. An estimated 657,000 boys and girls do not attend school in this country because of a lack of access or because of the cultural acceptance of child labor. Children of Mayan descent are more apt to serve as child laborers. In fact, Guatemala ranks the third highest in child labor statistics among Latin America and Caribbean countries.
ChildFund Guatemala is working to be an agent of social change, delivering programs and services that protect and promote children’s rights. A number of programs are aimed at youth, who too often are caught up in violence and drug trafficking. As ChildFund and its local partner organizations have helped youth develop leadership and life skills, the youth, in turn, have become advocates for change.
Last year, ChildFund Guatemala convened a Youth Spokesperson in Action conference, bringing together young people from ChildFund’s project areas across the country. The youth received training, exchanged experiences and ideas and developed leadership skills that will benefit their home communities.
The conference was groundbreaking for most of the young attendees. Watch the video to see Guatemala’s youth in action.