02 Nov Safe Passage
By Desi Stephens-
One of our partners in carrying out our mission in Guatemala is Safe Passage, a group that provides approximately 550 children with education, social services, and the hope of moving beyond their family’s impoverished circumstances.
We formed a working relationship in December of 2010, when a staff member of Safe Passage gave one of our mission groups a tour of the national cemetery and the adjoining dump in Guatemala City. It provided them insights into the reality of the extreme poverty faced by many residents.
Many families have lived in the dump or surrounding, poor communities for generations.
Many mission groups get a first-hand look at this situation by meeting a Safe Passage member at the school these children attend. The staff member shares the history of the organization and their work in helping children impacted by the dump.
Because of our partnership, a number of mission groups have donated school supplies to Safe Passage. They also have had opportunities to visit the Creamos jewelry shop, where women who have lived at the dump have the chance to make jewelry from paper goods.
In addition to selling their products to our groups and other customers, the women have an opportunity to learn job skills.
Dorie’s Promise has also benefited from this partnership. Safe Passage recently donated two washing machines to us and has given us extra food from their supplies.
Nearly every week Safe Passage takes the time to greet visitors on our mission teams and spend time with them. Ultimately, our joint efforts are making a long-lasting impact on at-risk children.
While no children from Safe Passage have entered the orphanage, we have extended our services to the organization’s social worker. If they feel that some of their children need a safe, loving home, they can use our services in working with the Minor Court to facilitate the transition.
Amilcar de Leon of Safe Passage credits the partnership with enabling them to meet many potential sponsors and donors.
The donations and school supplies they have received has helped reduce demands on their budget and helped them maintain their programs, he says. “We believe that because of these strong relationships we can work together to make a real difference in Guatemala,” de Leon says.
We agree. It has been a pleasure to work with Safe Passage as they have reached out to others and served us as well. As our partnership approaches its first anniversary, we look forward to seeing how we can strengthen relationships and continue serving the children of Guatemala.