Following the terrible fire at Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción children’s care home in San José Pinula, Guatemala (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/guatemala-childrens-home), we ask you to pray for the specific situation and also for the general conditions surrounding children in Guatemala.

Latin Link Guatemala has issued the following statement:

‘We are immensely saddened by the on-going news of the fire at Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción children’s care home.

Latin Link‘While Latin Link has no involvement with this home, we do aim to contribute to the care of the many vulnerable children of Guatemala, for example through Latin Link members partnering with Oasis children’s home for girls who have been sexually abused, a project just outside Guatemala City. The work of Oasis is committed to the protection of the rights and well-being of vulnerable children in Guatemala, and to seeking change and justice for all children, in a system that has been failing to uphold their human rights.

‘Staff at Oasis are working alongside other private, Christian, children’s homes in Guatemala for a coordinated approach. This is being led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (Alianza Cristiana para los Huérfanos) and AsoCriGua (Association of Christian Home in Guatemala).

‘In the situation with Hogar Seguro, donations are being requested – particularly needed are mattresses, blankets, towels, clothing and personal hygiene products. The hospitals also require more blood donations, and professional counsellors and psychologists are being asked to come forward to listen to the victims. But there is concern that without a well-coordinated approach, the response could be chaotic.

‘Three vulnerable girls, victims of sexual abuse, who were at Hogar Seguro at the time of the fire, have been moved to Oasis for their protection. All approved homes (ie homes that meet government standards) are being asked to fill any spare beds with children transferred from Hogar Seguro.’

Image of children returning home from a childrenPlease pray for:

• the grieving families and injured children;

• the safe transfer of children to other homes;

• the response to be carried out in a coordinated way;

• justice for children in Guatemala, a thorough investigation and lasting change in the societal attitude towards children at risk;

• Latin Link members and the organisations they partner with, such as International Justice Mission, Kids Alive International and the Ezra Centre (and many others), who are working with individual children, providing training for those in positions of authority and influence, and seeking to address the wider justice issues;

• more specialist resources to support children involved in the criminal justice system, or with psychiatric needs.

For a more general angle on childhood in Guatemala, please visit these pages:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/one-of-the-worst-places.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/we-need-to-talk-about-guatemala