The Children EDELAC Helps

EDELAC works with three distinct groups of children, and while each group requires specific types of assistance, the children in each may easily move from one group to another as their circumstances change. We are providing all children with significant financial and social work support, depending on their individual needs.

Photo by Dorie Hagler

1. Street Children: Street children are those children who have been abused and neglected at home and have either fled to the streets or have been abandoned by parents or relatives. On the street, they are usually exposed to drugs and physical or sexual abuse, and survive by becoming involved in prostitution or age-inappropriate work. Many quickly become addicted to sniffing glue or other inhalants, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will be unable to return home and will remain on the streets.

Our experience has taught us that adolescent street children who have typically spent a greater length of time on the streets than their younger counterparts have more severe emotional, behavioral, and drug addiction problems and therefore do not respond well to the type of structure necessary in a group home. We provide these children with basic necessities, such as nutritious meals and accommodation when appropriate, as well as education, employment training, and social work support opportunities. We also attend to their health care needs and provide clothing, shoes, and shoe-shining supplies.

2. Former Street Children: These are children who once lived on the streets, begging and inhaling glue to survive, and have been rehabilitated after living for approximately six months in the Hogar de Esperanza. They have now either returned to their own or extended families when possible, or have been placed with foster families. These children are now living as healthy youngsters; they are drug free, attend school, and are adapting to life in a structured family environment. They still require much individualized attention as they learn, many for the first time, how to live with love and discipline.

We continue to support these children in a variety of ways. We provide a monthly stipend to the foster families and cover the major expenses for all children, including health care costs, education, and shoes. In addition, a psychologist or social worker visits with the families and/or the children at least three times per month, to assure their continued progress and to address any upcoming concerns, and we arrange occasional recreational activities to maintain the friendships amongst the children.

Photo by Dorie Hagler

Photo by Dorie Hagler

3. Children at High Risk: Children at high risk of becoming street children are those youngsters aged 7 to 15 years who live with their families but experience internal problems such as poverty, broken homes, alcoholism, abuse, or neglect which may cause them to leave or be abandoned to the street by their families . Many of these children are forced to work in the street and earn money for the family rather than attending school.

We serve about 60 high-risk children from the community of Las Rosas, Quetzaltenango in EDELAC's Youth Development Center, the Las Rosas Centro Formativo Comunitario. Here the children are able to attend classes and receive nourishing meals while their parents are given vocational training as well as counselling about parenting and how to deal with a variety of personal and familial difficulties.

EDELAC Homepage || What is EDELAC? || Quetzaltrekkers Hiking Tours || How you (and Barbie) can help || Contact Us || Where to Stay and Study