Why Are There So Many Orphans In Guatemala?

by Kim

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Did you know there are at least 370,000 orphans in Guatemala? A question you may ask is “Why are there so many orphans in Guatemala?” While the reasons for Guatemala’s high rate of orphaned children are varied, the primary cause is poverty.

In a nation where 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, many families simply do not have the resources it requires to give children what they need. In this post, we’ll walk through some of the reasons why Guatemala has a high rate of orphans as well as some things you can do to help.

The Poverty Epidemic

To understand why Guatemala has so many orphaned children, it’s important to first consider their poverty epidemic. Raising children in any culture requires resources like food, shelter, and medical needs. A nation in poverty leads to a lack of such resources, which can be a cause of a high rate of orphaned children.

Dependence On Agriculture & Ineffective Taxes

The vast majority of the Guatemalan population makes their living from agriculture, but for the most part, they aren’t paid enough to escape poverty. To make matters worse, the government in Guatemala is ineffective at collecting taxes, which also means that they lack the funds to make life better for their citizens.

A Nation Of Violence

The crippling poverty is not the only reason that there are so many orphans in Guatemala. The nation’s violent past has left a mark on the country. An example of how the violence in Guatemala is so rampant lies in the fact that the murder rate of children is the second highest in the world next to El Salvador. With abuse and human trafficking also being prevalent in Guatemala, the fact remains that it’s one of the most dangerous countries for adults as well as children.

Orphanages Provide Much Needed Help

Until the racism and violence left over from their tumultuous past comes to an end and actions are taken to improve the poverty epidemic, there will be many orphaned children in need in Guatemala. While it’s true that conditions are harsh for the majority of Guatemalan citizens and their children, orphanages can make a major difference in the lives of orphaned children. Donations and volunteers can go a long way to help support these orphanages and the children who rely on them.

Donate & Volunteer

If you’ve read about the dire situation for children in Guatemala and are motivated to provide the help they need, you’ve come to the right place. Hogar Heroes is currently supporting the operations of two orphanages outside of Guatemala City—one for girls, and one for boys. Please consider making a donation to help us continue to support the administration of these facilities. You can make a difference in the lives of children who need it most.

We also organize 3-4 volunteer trips to the orphanages throughout the year. Learn more about these trips on our Volunteer page, and get in touch for more information.

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