Why Guatemala?

Guatemala, population 13 million, is one of the most impoverished countries in the Americas. The statistics below give some idea of the situation:

•50% of the population live in poverty

•there is only 4% adult unemployment (a frightening statistic – even the employed live in poverty)

•child labour rate is 30%

•in 2005 UNICEF estimated the number of orphans at 370,000

•there is no comprehensive national infrastructure to handle such a staggering number of orphans

•biggest school dropout rate is the first grade (many indigenous not speaking Spanish)

•68% of students reach the fifth grade

•35% of students reach high school

•a 35 year civil war ended in 1994 with 200,000 killed and 40,000 disappeared

The plight of Guatemala’s poor, most of whom are indigenous, is relatively unknown. Project Somos has a mandate to improve the living conditions of children and families living in poverty and to increase public awareness of the situation.