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How do we go from remodeling homes to remodeling orphanages in Guatemala?

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

According to UNICEF, there are approximately 153 million orphans in the world. Did you know there are approximately 500,000.00 orphans in Guatemala alone? After a bit of research, I was not able to find a number of children that live in orphanages in Guatemala. However, I got the impression the number is possibly less than half of the 500,000.00 reported to be orphans.

What does this have to do with remodeling homes and remodeling orphanages? I currently run a construction company with my husband. We renovate houses and create beautiful spaces for our clients. We have worked so hard these last few years so we can go back to Guatemala and renovate orphanages. Through several of our trips in Guatemala we visited orphanages, schools and saw children living in garbage dumps. Something about physically seeing children digging through a mountain of garbage and eating something they pulled out right in front of us is heart breaking and can't be unseen. Something about seeing a young mom holding a baby and stepping out of a little shack in the midst of the city's garbage dump is also something that cannot be unseen. Seeing 5 year old carrying their baby siblings and searching for food, is sad and a reality for many children and we cannot unsee this. .

I lived in an orphanage for 5 years (with two younger siblings), there were roughly 40 children in my orphanage. There may have been about 6 staff at a time (at least during the day). Keep in mind, there were babies, toddlers and the oldest children being around 10 years old. That's a lot of kids to care for, but we were cared for well. It's all we knew and I'm thankful for my orphanage and for the ladies in Texas that always raised support for the orphanage.

That said, the place I called home for 5 years was beautiful, at least how I remember it. Specially compared to where and how I spent the first 6 years of my life. I always had enough food to eat and I had a chance to go to a small private school close to the orphanage. My story was one of the exceptions.

Many children who are orphaned do not live in an orphanage or have anyone to care for them. If they do live in an orphanage, the clothes, toys. and even bedding have have most likely been used and played with by many kids before them.

Sometimes there is only just enough for the food and to maybe enough to pay staff. There is no extra to buy beds, dishes, toys. or educational material.

I've seen too much and lived through too much to do nothing. I can't help every child, but I'm going to help as many as I can. Starting by renovating the place some of them call home. By renovating the orpahages, some children will have safe and beautiful places to call home. Toys, beds and clothes to call their own and an opportunity at education. Perhaps then they will have a fighting chance to shape a better future?

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