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Guatemalan Association of Down Syndrome [Guatemala City]

In 2012, Orphan Outreach began helping the Guatemalan Association of Down Syndrome (AGSD-Asociación Guatemalteca para el Dindrome de Down) in Guatemala City.  The goal of AGSD is to support children with Down Syndrome so they can have access to specialized care, stimulation and education.

AGSD was founded in 2005 by Alfredo and Irene Salazar, two years after their son Alfredo Salazar was born with Down Syndrome. They founded the school after discovering the urgent need to provide support, schooling, and therapies to children with Down Syndrome in Guatemala City. The couple sold their house and used those funds to start the Association.

The Association helps families from extreme poverty situations and orphans. Their goal is to provide support the families and provide high quality service. They currently serve 40 children and 10 babies.

Orphan Outreach provides monthly sponsorship of all of the children at the school and provides funding for school supplies and other urgent needs. Short term mission teams have visited the school to enjoy crafts and play with the children and bring supplies.

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  • Population: 12,728,111 (July 2007)
  • Birth Rate: 29.09 births/1,000 population
  • Death Rate: 5.27 deaths/1,000 population
  • Infant Mortality Rate total: 29.77 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Population below poverty line: 56.2% (2004)
  • Est. # people living with HIV/AIDS: 61,000; 0.9% adult (15-49) prevalence rate (2005)
  • Unemployment rate: 3.2% (2005)
  • Literacy Rate (age 15 + can read & write): 69.1% total population
  • Estimated 370,000 children (0-17) orphaned (2005)
  • Type of Government: Representative democracy
  • Language(s): Spanish (60%); Amerindian languages (40%)
  • Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant, and indigenous Mayan beliefs
  • Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Caribbean Sea between Honduras and Belize.
  • UNICEF estimates that there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala and at least 5,000 children live on the streets of the capital, abandoned by mothers who are too poor to keep them.
  • Only 24 percent of the population attends Secondary school (1996-2005).
  • Only 58 percent of municipalities have a secondary school.
  • Five out of 10 students who enter primary school in urban areas complete primary school, as opposed to only two out of 10 in rural areas.
  • Some 67 percent of indigenous children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • 27 percent of all children under 5 are underweight.
  • The distribution of income remains highly unequal with about 56% of the population below the poverty line.
  • The indigenous population, the Maya, make up about half of the population. Mayan languages are spoken alongside Spanish, the official tongue. Many Guatemalans are of mixed Amerindian-Hispanic origin.
  • Guatemalans live in one of the most inequitable societies in the region. Poverty is particularly widespread in the countryside and among indigenous communities. Illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition are among the highest in the region, life expectancy is among the lowest and, in common with many of its neighbors, the country is plagued by organized crime and violent street gangs.