Articles and Research

Why Family-Style Care?

Study on Romania’s Abandoned Children: by Charles A. Nelson III is an American neuroscientist and psychologist:


Critical Issues for Women and Children

UNICEF (See full article at

Poverty in Guatemala is one of the leading causes of chronic malnutrition. While over half of the country lives in poverty, the rates are even more dramatic for the indigenous population and children.

Approximately 75 per cent of indigenous people are considered poor, compared to 36 per cent of non-indigenous people. Among children, 59.2 per cent of those under age 18 live in poverty and 19 per cent live in extreme poverty. Chronic malnutrition is a serious ongoing concern for children in Guatemala. It affects 49 per cent of the population under age 5. The gaps between urban and rural areas are considerable; while in rural areas the chronic malnutrition level is 52 per cent, in urban areas it is 29 per cent. Only 50 per cent of children 0–5 months old are exclusively breastfed.

Chronic malnutrition is aggravated in times of floods, drought and other natural disasters, as crops are lost and family income decreases. Access to basic social services such as health, safe water and sanitation is disrupted and school attendance is limited in emergencies. Not surprisingly, Guatemala continues to be one of the countries in the region with the highest mortality rate during the drought season.

The situation of children exposed to violence in Guatemala is dramatic. In 2009, 533 violent deaths were reported, as well as four children killed monthly by stray bullets. These figures increased during 2010. The General Prosecutor reports an estimated 8,000 cases of sexual abuse committed against children each year.

How Guatemala Came to This

Hope of Life International

In 1996, the country of Guatemala emerged from a 36-year-long civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people were lost. In 2009, the country declared a “state of public calamity” bringing to the surface a severe hunger crisis that was sweeping the nation.

The “dry corridor,” located in eastern Guatemala, is said to be an area of severe malnutrition as a result of adverse weather, poor soil, and the global economic turndown. In this corridor, it is estimated that 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 per cent) is the highest in the region and the fourth highest in the world. As a result, over 75 per cent of the country’s population falls below the poverty line. Illiteracy, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and starvation are among the highest in this region.

To compound the situation, the country is victim to organized crime and gang-related activity, as well as recurring natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and mudslides, destroying the lives of people living in vulnerable areas. Infectious diseases complicate the problem. Food-borne or waterborne illnesses such as bacterial diarrhea, Hepatitis A, and typhoid fever are common, as is dengue fever, malaria, and leptospirosis. This country, though beautiful in appearance—picturesque, even—is overwhelmed by crime, poverty, and severe malnourishment.