We are shocked and saddened to hear the recent news coming out of the largest government-run orphanage in Guatemala, Hogar Seguro.
On Monday, March 6, youth and children in the orphanage staged a riot to protest ongoing sexual and physical abuse in the orphanage. A fire broke out Monday night and the early morning hours of Tuesday as a result of some of the kids setting fire to their mattresses. The majority of the victims were girls between the ages of 13 and 16 who were trapped in their living quarters. Some reports are that the girls were locked in a school on the property and responders were slow to react. When they did respond, the fire could not be extinguished in time to save their lives.
As of the morning of March 15, 40 are now confirmed dead according to the Prensa Libre, the largest newspaper in Guatemala. Thirty-eight others are in the hospital, most in critical condition. We understand that 150 children with special needs have been relocated to another government home.
Please pray for these kids who live in Hogar Seguro. We stand ready to assist in whatever way we are able to do so. At this time, the public hospitals where the victims are being treated are asking for basic supplies.
We have had children come to NLCH from that orphanage, especially recently. They bring horrifying reports of how they and the other children who live there are treated. Thank you for praying for us and the other private Homes in Guatemala who are providing a safe place for children to live and grow up. Thank you for standing with us!
From NLAI President Kendon Wheeler: This article from The New Yorker is the most complete report I have read to date on shedding light on what happened at Hogar Seguro. I have no way of being able to verify the facts, but even if half of this is true, it is deeply troubling.