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Little House of Refuge: Casa Hogar mi Pequeno Refugio, [Xela]

Late in 2009, Orphan Outreach began partnering with Little House of Refuge, a privately run orphanage located thirty minutes outside of Xela, Guatemala’s second largest city. Little House is the fruit of sacrifice—the result of one couple from Mexico, Ciro and Maria Teresa Murguia, and their willingness to sacrifice their own comfort and security for the sake of children who needed a home.

After retirement the couple sold their possessions and moved to Guatemala’s western highlands, a coffee-growing region. They bought land, built a building, and took in abandoned children who had nowhere else to go. Today the couple’s two daughters, Lourdes and Teresa, carry on the work of caring for 30-40 children, ages 2 and up. Serving Christ in countless acts of service, the two women are model multi-taskers. In addition to providing a loving home for all of the children, the orphanage property houses a school for the children.

Orphan Outreach provides monthly sponsorship of all of the children at Little House and provides funding for teachers, school supplies and other urgent needs. Short-term mission teams have been involved in many activities including teaching skills to the children and helping with painting, construction, education and other needs of the orphanage.

The children in this program are available for monthly sponsorship but for privacy reasons we do not have their photos online. For information on sponsoring an available children please email sponsorship@orphanoutreach.org.
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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.