In the early 2000s, Antigua government officials asked The GOD’S CHILD Project to help build, maintain, and operate a much-needed homeless shelter. The Santa Madre Homeless Shelter provides temporary housing for children and adults, including many individuals suffering from chemical dependencies. The GOD’S CHILD Project works with the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous to provide inspirational discussion, rehabilitation options, and a safe place to sleep. The shelter, located next to Antigua’s bus terminal, opens every night of the year at 6 PM and offers a hot meal, showers, bathrooms, and sleeping mats to up to 100 people. The Albergue (shelter) is often an opportunity to find individuals and families struggling so much that they fall through the cracks of our other screening methods. Runaways and orphans have found new families through GOD’S CHILD. Children working for pennies or stealing to survive have been enrolled in our schools. A mother and her children fleeing from domestic violence received a ServiceTeam home, free education and access to all of our programs and services.
ServiceTeams are groups of volunteers, typically from North America or Europe, that build homes for families that desperately need a secure place to live. Since 1991, ServiceTeams have built more than a thousand homes for very poor families in Guatemala and El Salvador. Whether homeless or living in cardboard shacks, many of our families cannot dream of a better future while living in such demeaning conditions. The simple homes built by ServiceTeams have concrete floors, proven to decrease stomach parasites by 60 percent. ServiceTeam-built homes are sturdy enough to withstand the torrential rains and frequent mudslides of Guatemala’s rainy season. ServiceTeams fundraise the cost of construction materials, approximately US$1,500 per home, and travel expenses. Over the past three years, this program increased its annual yield from 55 homes built to 95 homes, slashing the Project’s five-year housing waiting list to just one year. ServiceTeams have also built wells and schools for our programs in Malawi, Africa.
The GOD´S CHILD Project shares a strategic partnership with the Destitute Aged and Young Association (DAYA) in Orissa, India. The DAYA Children’s Home was established in 2004 in the heart of Bhubaneswar, Orissa to provide shelter, education, medical care, food, clothing, and parental love to orphaned and abandoned children. Originally, the children came mostly from a remote tribal area where schooling and medical care are unavailable. The 29 children currently living on-site are cared for by a dedicated staff that help them with their homework, take them on special outings to the park and the zoo, and do the countless things that all good parents do for their youngsters. In addition to caring for the children living on-site, DAYA works in throughout Orissa to educate street and slum children, provide medical care for polio and sickle cell anemia, and rehabilitate children who have suffered physical or mental trauma. You can sponsor a child through DAYA for just US$30 a month.