Just five days shy of *Maggi’s 4th birthday, any plans being made to celebrate her special day came to an abrupt halt. Instead, Maggi and her family fled their home in a panic, as tropical storm Agatha swept across Guatemala – taking the family’s already rundown home with her. Leaving over 150 people dead, several missing, and thousands homeless, Agatha was the second of back-to-back natural disasters to strike Guatemala last May.
On June 3rd, Maggi – extremely malnourished and anemic – spent her birthday in an encampment for families who had lost their homes in the storm. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time helpless and innocent Maggi had experienced such devastation. The tropical storm was the last of many distressing events to befall Maggi’s family, who had already been suffering from extreme poverty and malnourishment.
In response to this crisis, and the needs of children like Maggi, Holt International immediately began identifying and helping families who had lost their homes. Working in Guatemala since 1986, Holt currently provides family preservation services for desperate children and families in this area. Many of the children affected by the natural disasters, including Maggi, are now in Holt’s child sponsorship program and need continuing support.
Today, Maggi’s parents, still in a state of crisis, have started attending a special parent education program and self-help groups to assist them in providing for their daughter. Tutors have been identified for Maggi and she is meeting expectations for education development and motor and social skills. No longer malnourished, Maggi and her family are making tremendous strides toward stability, but they still have a long way to go.
Assistance provided through family preservation programs commonly serve as the only glue keeping a family together. The helpless children in family preservation, however, always need extra-special care and attention. For this reason, Holt International’s child sponsorship program often goes hand in hand with family preservation efforts.
Were it not for dedicated sponsors providing monthly support to children all over the world, the possibility of keeping a family like Maggi’s intact would be that much more difficult.
Holt and our partners in Guatemala are helping Maggi where we can. But we need your help. Maggi and other children in Guatemala, and all over the world, need food, medical care, clothing, nutrition, warmth and safety.
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*name has been changed