Children living on the streets face abuse from all sides – at home, from the police, from pimps and drug dealers, from disinterested passers-by.
Many children turn to solvents and other risky behaviours, convinced their lives are worthless and there is little point in hoping for a better alternative. By the time our street outreach teams find them, they have often suffered years of physical and/or sexual abuse, and self-harm.
Recovering from this type of trauma takes specialist care, which Casa Alianza counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists provide in our residential shelters.
In Guatemala City, for example, Casa Alianza works with girls who have suffered the most horrific forms of sexual violence – survivors of trafficking and gang rape – and painstakingly help them take steps to rebuild their lives.
Providing this level of medical care costs a lot of money, but is absolutely essential to the long-term healing process of the children we serve. By donating to Compass Children’s Charity today, you can make a huge difference to this ongoing effort.
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The lives of many children in Latin America are shattered and ruined by violence on a daily basis. The scale of the problem is staggering, and at times overwhelming.
Most of the children Casa Alianza encounters have fled situations of unspeakable abuse at home – victims of their own lives, even before pimps, drug dealers and criminal gangs reach them on the streets to beat, sexually abuse, even murder them.
Such violence compromises child development and leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of self-harm, aggression mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, from which it is very hard to escape.
Indeed, young people living in the residential shelters have many hurdles to overcome before they can settle into their new way of living. One of the hardest for many is adjusting to a life free from all forms of violence.
Casa Alianza safe houses provide an environment of calm, consensus and collaboration where a team of counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists work closely with the children to address these issues, empower them with coping strategies and tools to help rebuild their lives and help them to see that violence isn’t normal.
Casa Alianza also acts to prevent all forms of abuse against children and teenagers in society by working to influence public policy and legislation that benefit children across Latin America as a whole.
How do you even begin to combat an entire culture of impunity?
This is the question Casa Alianza has been confronting for over a quarter of a century as they fight to defend the rights of street children and seek justice for the crimes committed against them.
The countries where we work – Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – do have laws against trafficking, exploitation and of course, the murder of children. Yet children go on being abused and killed, week in, week out, with precious few adults even being held to account.
We need your help.
The more voices that join us in pressuring the authorities to act to end a culture that condones the most unspeakable crimes against children, the more chance we have of changing things.