guatemala_flagGuatemala is located just south of Mexico in Central America. For over thirty-five years, Guatemala was engaged in civil war, ending in 1996. Since the war, Guatemala has experienced economic growth and democratic government rule.

Guatemala has a population of approximately 13.8 million people. While Spanish is the official language of Guatemala, as many as 20 Mayan dialects are spoken throughout the villages. The majority of Guatemalans practice Christianity.

Guatemala faces many social problems and is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It is estimated that in the “dry corridor,” located in eastern Guatemala, 54,000 people go hungry on a daily basis. According to UNICEF, nearly half of Guatemalan children suffer from severe malnutrition. The chronic hunger rate for children (49.8 percent) is the highest in the region and the fourth highest in the world. As a result, over 75% of the country’s population falls below the poverty line. Illiteracy, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and starvation are among the highest in this region.

Unicef estimates that there are approximately 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. Because Guatemala closed to international adoptions in 2007, at least 50,000 of these children live in institutional facilities (orphanages).

Approximately 61,000 people – just below 1% of the population of Guatemala – are living with HIV. The stigma associated with a positive HIV diagnosis is significant.

Project HOPEFUL has launched a new program called the Walk On Water Initiative! Walking on water upstream to prevent children from becoming orphans. Providing holistic care and community development through relationships, preventing the relinquishment of children to institutions due to poverty. Enabling families to stay intact, with a special focus on single mothers and children with special needs.