Buckner opens Transitional Girl’s Home in Guatemala

By January 9, 2006

Guatemala (MNN) — Girls in Guatemala will now have a place to help them start life on the right foot in Guatemala thanks to Buckner Orphan Care International. The organization dedicated its first transitional girl’s home in Guatemala City over the weekend. Unlike any orphanage, the transitional home will provide a place for girls age 18 and older to live as they continue their education and learn life skills.

“A home like this is important for these girls because a lot of them don’t have anywhere to go,” said Leslie Chace, director of Latin American programs for BOCI. “These girls are desperate; they’re desperate for sponsors or for people to help them. We don’t want them to fall into the pitfalls of their past. This home will give them opportunities–teach them how to live on their own, let them finish their education, budget their own money, and get jobs to start contributing to the home.”

Based on Buckner’s history in the United States with transitional homes, Buckner has wanted to start a program like this for a long time in Guatemala but never had the right opportunity. Early in 2005, the opportunity came through businesswoman and founder of Fundaninas Girl’s Home, Isabel de Bosch.

“I got a phone call one day in Dallas, and [de Bosch] was saying, “Hey, we’ve got this empty house, could you guys do anything with it?” We went to see the house and thought that this would be a good start for a transitional home.”

Through a partnership with Fundaninas, Buckner began planning in early 2005 for the new home that would hold 10 girls — five from Fundaninas and five from the Manchen Girl’s Home in Antigua, where Buckner has established relationships with many of the girls.

“We wanted to start a home with a small number of girls to see how it goes because we’re going to use it as a model home. We hope to have maybe two more homes by this time next year — one for boys and one for girls. So we may have three new homes by 2006, God willing.”

According to Chase, “Most of all, we want to give them the spiritual aspect–that’s the primary reason for doing this. We want to give them the Lord, help them have a connection with the Lord so that they may have fruitful lives and know how to turn to the Lord with their problems.”

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