Los Verdes is a community located in Fraijanes, Guatemala; of the communities UNUM works with, it is the closest to Guatemala City. Los Verdes’ proximity to the city means that many family members are able to travel to work in the city, providing them with a higher salary than daily-wage workers and often more job security. This also means that many households are left without adult supervision from early in the morning until late at night, leaving older kids with the responsibility of caring for younger siblings, all while managing their own school work and household duties.
Children often have nutritional deficiencies due to lack of access to nutrient dense food or clean drinking water. Many students leave school after the 6th grade, deciding instead to find a job so they’re able to contribute to the family’s finances. Within Los Verdes and the surrounding communities, the access to resources varies significantly. Some families secure jobs in the city, others work picking coffee or in construction, as mechanics, teachers, running stores or selling tortillas.
A long, paved road winds its way down the mountain through each community, farther and farther from the city until the pavement abruptly stops, marking the end of one state and the beginning of the next. It wasn’t even ten years ago that those who lived on the side with paved road had access to running water, but those that lived on the dirt road didn’t. This often led to animosity between neighbors and tension within the communities.
What is UNUM’s strategy in Los Verdes?
UNUM partners with a ministry in Los Verdes that runs a school providing high-quality education to students from 3 years old to seniors in high-school. UNUM supports the schools nutritional program, so students are able to receive classes, be discipled and receive a nutritious meal. The school has served not only as a place where children can receive high quality education and nutrition, but as a place of unity, where students from different backgrounds are able to learn, play, and grow together.
As a part of UNUM’s mission of seeing Guatemala transformed in Christ, one of our goals is to be able to empower young people to be agents of change within their own community. Part of UNUM’s strategy to accomplish this is through a college program. This program not only allows our graduating seniors to go to college, but provides them with continued discipleship and leadership training, equipping them to become the role models in their communities for the coming generations.
We are excited about all the ways God will continue to work in Los Verdes. Thank you for your support of UNUM as we work to see Los Verdes become a healthy community in Christ, thriving physically, mentally, and spiritually!