How Gang Violence in Guatemala Affects Children

gang violence in guatemala

May 31, 2017

Every day, children in Guatemala are faced with an unimaginable danger.

Their country has experienced a tragic increase in gang violence; it’s one the most violent countries in the world with 41% of homicides related to gang activities.

Gangs riots and retaliation are rampant against the police force, leaving little room for safety or justice. Recently in Guatemala City, a notorious gang known as Bario 18, attacked the police force, wounding many and leaving 3 officers dead.

The Impact of Violence on Children

Every time a child leaves their home, they risk being harmed or recruited by gang members. Over the years, the violence has forced many families and children to flee their homes and relocate to Mexico and the United States.

According to the UN Refugee Agency’s regional office in Panama, “Children are particularly at risk. They are trapped between these two gangs that are constantly fighting, and this leads people to try and find safer places to live…this has a long-term impact on their education and their lives.”

And each year, more children travel the dangerous journey to Mexico alone, increasing the likelihood they’ll be kidnapped, trafficked, or killed. In 2016, in just over a 6-month period, 16,000 children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were apprehended in Mexico.

And while these statistics are alarming, we have the ability to make a difference. We can reduce the effects of violence and give children a chance to succeed through the gift of education.

End Gang Violence with Education

We can help end this violence by providing a safe place for the community, families, and education in Guatemala. A quality education drives social and economic change and gives children a hope for the future.

Education is essential to ending violence in Guatemala because it:

Keeps Children Safe

Children in school are less likely to be recruited by gangs because it keeps them safe and off of the streets.

Education provides an opportunity for a better future, higher learning, and enables individuals to be a part of their communities.

A quality education teaches children important intrapersonal and interpersonal skills for life.

Empowers the Community

Education strengthens and supports the community.

At school, Guatemalan children can connect with their peers and build stability. As their skills grow, they can become future leaders, doctors, and teachers to empower their community.
Every $1 invested in education and youth skills in developing countries generates $10-$15 in economic growth.

Increases Earning Potential

Education opens new doors of opportunity and increases the chances of children developing careers.

One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%. Additionally, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills.

Help Educate Guatemalan Children

With the threats of gang violence and rising costs of tuition and school supplies, not all families can afford to send their children to school.

But with your support and donations, there’s hope.

When you give the gift of education, you give Guatemalan children a chance to succeed.

Join Global Education Plus as we partner with organizations in Guatemala to provide education and resources to students and teachers, empowering them to pursue their dreams.