Cornerstone and Children's HopeChest: Partners Since 2019
Cornerstone Church has partnered with Children’s HopeChest in the community of Ceiba Blanca, Guatemala since 2019.
Ceiba Blanca is a small village located in the municipality of San Martin Zapotitlan in Retalhuleu. Retalhueu is the Department (State) of Guatemala with most of its population living in rural areas (60.1% of the population lives in rural areas). Ceiba Blanca has a population of 900 people. This is a warm and tropical area.
How You Can Help
You can be part of this church-wide initiative to personally, financially and prayerfully support the people of Ceiba Blanca by:
- Committing to pray for this community!
- After prayerful consideration, sponsoring a child by signing up to be a Children’s HopeChest Friend (sponsor).
- Visiting the Ceiba Blanca Community through one of our Partner Visits, whether that's online or in person.
Be a Children’s HopeChest Friend (Sponsor)
- Sign up! This includes providing your name, info, and using a debit/credit card to start your sponsorship, plus having a photo taken of you (and your family if you choose), and uploading it to the Children's HopeChest portal. Take me to the HopeChest Portal!
- Here’s what’s really cool: Each of you who becomes a HopeChest Friend will have your profile information and photo hand-delivered to Ceiba Blanca – and the kids then get to CHOOSE who they want to be their HopeChest Friend (sponsor)! It's a way to provide dignity and choice to kids who don't get to make many choices.
More About Ceiba Blanca
Guatemala’s population of 16.02 million makes it the most populous country in Central America. At 2%, it also boasts the highest population growth rate in all of Latin America. This is due, in part, to its large population of reproductive age and their high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala’s population is under the age of 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America with a median age of only 21.4 years.
Cases of malnourishment or stunting are not uncommon among children attending the local elementary school. The main reason for this, is the work situation of the parents at the community. Usually children eat one to two times a day, but not very nutritious meals. According to a census in 2013, the chronic malnutrition rate in the municipality of San Marin Zapotitlan is 24 %, the third highest in Retaluheu.
Families often experience difficulties in getting a formal job. As a result, they struggle to feed and provide the basics for their family. In the area, there are some job opportunities, but often these jobs pay only day wages or pay per season, which doesn’t provide stability to a family’s economy and compels people to search for alternative ways to survive and generate additional income.
Ceiba Blanca has one elementary and one middle school. Due to the economic problems that the families of the community face, many children have to work to help in their homes. At the same time, there isn’t a High School in the village, so the children have to go to a High School in a different community an hour away. This represents an extra cost for the families that they can’t afford. The dropout rate in Ceiba Blanca is 76 %, which means, that of every 100 children who begin elementary school (1st grade), 73 continue in Middle School and only 27 finish High school. This is the third highest school dropout in the Department (State) of Retalhuleu. At the same time, the community does not have any vocational schools.
Due to the realities already described, access to public health services is also deficient. The closest health center is 11 kms. from the community. Children get sick from common illnesses, such as stomach issues, flu, and illnesses resulting from mosquito bites, a lack of hygiene at the home, as well as, a lack of access to clean water. One of the biggest problems is the high mortality rate of 15%, due to renal dysfunction in children under 15 years. The main reasons for this are malnutrition and dehydration due to the conditions of work during the harvest.
Currently, most of the houses in the area are made from wood, cinder block and corrugated metal sheets. There are some made of plastic and adobe.
People in the community live at risk because construction is not up to code, and most of the people in the community do not have basic sanitation.
- The Local Church is involved with different ministries and running programs. (Youth, Women’s and Children’s ministries)
- One member of the church is president of the local Government, COCODE.
- There is space available and different spaces to run different programs.
- They have built strong relationships with the principals of the public schools.
- The Church is involved in all the activities with volunteers committed to the transformation of their community.
- Most of the volunteers from the church are young people.
- The community has a lot of natural resources to begin agricultural programs.
- The Church has credibility in the community.
- The church members work getting local donations to do what they are doing.
Children's HopeChest Guatemala
After decades of civil war, Guatemala suffers from rampant poverty, large-scale malnutrition, and is home to hundreds of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children. Cornerstone is partnering with Children’s HopeChest which equips vulnerable children, their families, and communities to become more self-sustaining, and escape the cycle of poverty.
We recognize local communities have assets and abilities to thrive through local leadership and resources. Our partnership with Children’s HopeChest in Cieba Blanca is all about learning about the community’s strengths and weaknesses, and supporting local leaders in a way that leads to sustainability. We are joining with Ceiba Blanca’s leaders, who form a CarePoint, providing discipleship, nutrition, health and education (for both children and parents).