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Guatemala is among the world’s most dangerous countries. The homicide rate is nearly five times what the World Health Organization considers an “epidemic.” People face an insurmountable level of violence, insecurity and lack of economic opportunities. Additionally, multiple years of recurring droughts have destroyed corn and bean harvests, the mainstay of their diet.
The COVID pandemic has added to the misery, threatening access to food, education, and ability to work. It is increasing the risk of extreme hunger, with rising food prices and supply chain disruptions. It is restricting people from working as day laborers and selling products.
The final blow was two hurricanes, Eta and Iota, whose heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides, leaving damaged roads and uninhabitable conditions. Total villages and crops were wiped out, as well as necessary infrastructure, displacing thousands of people.
Struggling with rampant violence, chronic poverty, failed harvests and finally a hurricane wiping them out, entire families have made the difficult decision to leave their homes and flee north, an exodus that highlights the need to address the violence, poverty and other root causes of this humanitarian emergency.
ILAG, the Iglesia Luterana Augustina de Guatemala, is there to help. ILAG has been a constant presence, offering food aid, social support, and education to help raise people out of poverty.
This year’s Guatemala Gala in support of ILAG focuses on that education. The education ministry of ILAG keeps children in school and off the streets and offers them hope of a better future. It provides scholarships to children who cannot afford that education and keeps the village pastors and leaders connected to continuing education.
Gifts to this year’s gala will go toward paying the school mortgage, buying educational materials, educating future leaders in the community through gifts of tablets for church leaders to remain connected and continue their education, and scholarships for youth to be able to stay in school.
Your support is crucial to keeping this strong education ministry going. Please join us this coming Sunday evening, May 2, at 6:50 p.m. as we begin the gala as Partners in Education.
St. Michael’s Lutheran Church
Guatemala Gala Committee