Images of a slum in Guatemala

Update from Sr Magdalena in Guatemala - 19 October 2023

“Thank you for your concern for our girls and sisters, we are indeed going through a political crisis that so far has had no solution, we have had difficulty in the supply of fruits and vegetables and some products of the basic basket, we are looking for affordable prices as the costs of products are high due to shortages because they have been blocking major roads in different parts of the country.

Regarding the classes, the girls had been receiving virtual classes for two weeks and today is the first day that the ministry authorised the public schools to receive the classes in person, however not all the teachers were able to arrive due to the blockades, the children in the nursery were also receiving virtual classes at the same time as the girls and today was their first day in person.

In the clinic during the time that there were more than 150 points blocked in the city alone, less than 10 patients were arriving but now they are arriving almost the same amount as in normal times, thank God the girls are safe inside the school as they have no contact with outsiders.

Today the representatives of the people had a meeting with the government to reach an agreement depending on their results the blockades will decrease or if the people are unhappy it could even get more difficult.

Thank you very much for all your support and concern, greetings and blessings.” – Sr Magdalena

view of sprawling city and informal housing in Guatemala

Update on protests in Guatemala - 18 October 2023

Protests continue to disrupt life in Guatemala, and the Sisters and staff are still exercising caution around Guatemala City.

According to latest news from Reuters, there have been “mostly isolated incidents of violence in different parts of the country”, when police and armed forces clashed with protestors.

There is no indication yet when there might be an end to the protests and so the programmes face ongoing disruption. Teachers are still unable to travel safely to the schools and so classes continue online where possible. Road closures are affecting imports and this could lead to a knock on effect in food prices for a while.

Accessing food for the programmes is a priority, as well as ensuring the programmes sites are secure. There are currently 1,945 children in Zona 6 Boystown, Zona 13 Girlstown, and Zona 21 Nursery and their safety and continuing their education without interruption is our main concern.

Wall and gate of Sisters of Mary School in Guatemala

Protests in Guatemala affecting our programmes - 13 October 2023

In late September 2023, widespread protests broke out in Guatemala following alleged interference in the recent elections. Protesters have flooded Guatemala City and as many as 140 roads have been closed. After 8 consecutive days of protests, there is a two day respite on 13 and 14 October so that the city can replenish supplies and residents can go out.

This has affected our programmes near Guatemala City, particularly Zona 13 Girlstown, Zona 21 Nursery, and Zona 6 Boystown. Teachers have had to move to teaching online as they cannot travel to access the schools. The Sisters have also struggled to get fresh supplies of food for several days and prices have risen dramatically.

Sister Aurelia emailed us on Friday 13 October to say “Teachers are teaching online, those who live nearby are arriving. And others are staying at the Villa. It has been very difficult to buy food, especially vegetables because the markets are closed, due to shortages and because prices are very high.”

We will keep updating as the situation evolves. All our children remain safe and well in school and we are monitoring the situation with the Sisters.

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Help provide urgent support for our programmes in Guatemala

You can help ensure the safety and security of our children in our Guatemalan programmes, and help the Sisters meet the rising cost of food during the protests by donating to our page here.

Map of Guatemala
Country Profile

Our work in Guatemala

The Sisters of Mary officially started operations in Guatemala in 1997. Thanks to the recent expansion of the Boystown, we are now able to care for over 2100 boys and girls. We also fund a small day-care centre for youngsters aged three to five, and a medical clinic that supports the school children and the poorest from the local community.

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