The Paraiso Neighborhood is a smorgasbord of dysfunctional families. There are single mothers in their teens with multiple kids; temporary stepfathers just passing through; families with as many as 11 kids from 6 different dads living alone with mom. If the foundation of every society is their family, Zone 18 is the weakest link in Guatemala City. To truly impact a community we must start by transforming the families. We serve approximately 60 families on a more dedicated basis, comprised of about 300 people.
Many of the families we partner with live in one-room shacks made of wood, tin, cardboard, and whatever trash they can obtain at little to no cost. Many have dirt floors, and some have no access to clean water or electricity. It’s hard to focus on doing homework when the sun shines through the holes in your tin roof and rainwater runs over your feet. These families are candidates for Engadi’s Home Building Program, an effort to give the boys we serve, as well as their siblings and parents, a secure and healthier home environment.
The family is the foundation for every society and a strong family is built on solid values. Due to generations of dysfunction and an unawareness of biblical truths, many of the parents we encounter in the Paraíso Neighborhood have no real clue how to parent. Throughout the year Engadi offers a variety of classes on how to be a better parent. These classes become a doorway into their lives and many times lead to follow-up questions and deeper opportunities for ministry. As little boys and girls become young adults, we begin to work with them, as well, teaching them the importance of starting their own families on a solid foundation.
Students attending any of the public schools in the Paraíso Neighborhood are eligible to participate in a merit-based program that provides for their basic school supplies. To qualify, parents must attend the Family Values classes taught by Engadi’s staff. Children and families must also work together to complete a set number of community service hours within the school they will attend in order to receive their supplies for the next academic school year. Many of the supplies are donated by the supporting churches and individuals from the USA.