Guatemala (MNN) — Adverse weather conditions related to the El Nino phenomenon continue to affect many parts of Guatemala, including the so called "Dry Corridor" region. Consequently, children are suffering and dying from acute malnourishment and illnesses, including pneumonia and diarrhea.
In response, Compassion International, the world's largest child development and sponsorship organization, is assisting more than 4,000 registered children currently living in Guatemala's "Dry Corridor" through the ministry's holistic child development program.
Along with annual medical exams, all children in the program receive nutritious meals every day they attend project activities. The children who are chronically malnourished receive additional meals and are evaluated every two weeks to monitor their progress. Compassion leaders also reinforce good hygiene and cooking practices with the children's caregivers.
"Compassion's efforts in Guatemala have made a remarkable difference for those children who are part of our Child Sponsorship Program," said Mark Hanlon, senior vice president of Compassion International, USA. "As we go into areas such as Guatemala's "Dry Corridor," it is our mission to release the poorest of these children from their poverty, thereby giving them and their families a hand up, not just a handout."
"When my husband died, I was overwhelmed and bewildered. I did not know how I would feed our three children." said the mother of 11-year-old Compassion-sponsored child Doris Alejandrina Medino. With Compassion's help, Doris' health has improved–she was significantly underweight–and she has gained considerable weight amounting to a more than 10 percent increase from her previous medical checkup.
Compassion tackles unforeseen barriers to a child's healthy development, including hunger. In some areas of the world where Compassion works, the meal that sponsored children receive at the child development centers is often the only food they eat that day. To fight hunger and help children in developing countries like Guatemala, Compassion will sponsor Global Food Crisis Day on February 10, 2010.
As Compassion works through the local church, children and their families hear the Gospel, and many come to Christ as a result.
Compassion International first began its work in Guatemala in 1976. Today, it is serving more than 33,700 children in more than 140 child development centers.