Childcare Project - Guatemala

The Acorn Childcare Centre ('Centro Infantil Bellota’) in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala is funded and supported by the Trust.

The Centre provides a safe and caring educational environment for Guatemalan children living in poverty, and at risk of suffering from neglect. It aims to ensure that children’s basic needs are met and to encourage active learning during the formative pre-school years of 2-6. This is a crucial stage of development and it’s hoped that the support they receive at the Centre will have a positive impact throughout their lives.


The need for this Centre:

At the start of the New Millennium, over half the population of Guatemala lived in poverty with more than 15% living in extreme poverty1. These statistics are the worst in Central America and reflect national trends of inequality, poor social service provision and limited access to basic health services. Perhaps the greatest impact of such widespread poverty is the challenge to the development prospects of Guatemala's children. About two-thirds of all Guatemalan children live in poverty. Rates of child malnutrition in Guatemala are among the worst in the world1. Over half of children under 5 years of age suffer from malnutrition, and of these one fifth are severely malnourished. This affects both their physical development and their ability to learn.

Women and girls face cumulative disadvantages. Many mothers have to do whatever work they can to support their children, struggling with inequalities inherent in Guatemala's machismo society. Young children are often left in the care of slightly older children. As Maria’s story shows, an 8 year old may have to leave school to care for a 5 year old and a 2 year old. The centre offers childcare during school hours to ensure that older siblings have the opportunity to attend classes. As well as providing a stimulating educational environment, it provides a nutritious diet and monitors children's health and development.

The Centre works closely with families to ensure that parents are included in their children’s education and that staff at the Centre understand children’s home situations.


The need for your support :

The Centro Infantil Bellota opened on the 1st of March 2006 and now cares for over 20 pre-school children and their families.

Dramatic inflation within the country and a less favorable exchange rate mean that the Maya Childcare Trust urgently needs to raise more funds in order to enable the work of the Centre to continue. Your support can make a valuable difference. We really need further funding to secure help for these children. Your donation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

[1] World Bank Study: "Poverty In Guatemala (GUAPA)" (World Bank, Washington, D.C. 1993).
ISBN 0-8213-5552-X



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