this is carmen (10)
this is a story ive been working on since i got back from guatemala, well i worked on it there, but putting it together now. i would appreciate if you followed this link looked at the story as a whole. to me its much more then single images.[link]
On April 2nd 2009 I met Claudia (11) and her sisters, Carmen (10) and Mercedes (7). They live in a small 3 building rental made of scrap steel and wood with a communal courtyard and dirt floors and a surprisingly beautiful view of Ciudad Vieja and the volcanos that surround. Living with them are their brothers and other young kids from near by homes. Claudia and her mother grabbed a ride from us to the local dump in Alotenango. Once there, they toiled mercilessly under the hot sun sifting burning trash to find plastic, aluminum and other scrap metals as well as games, toys and clothing. The girls have been in and out of school for the past several years but their parents need the income they make collecting trash so school has never been a priority. Both Claudia and Carmen have such angry faces, and their voices sounded as if they were 30, most likely due to constantly breathing in black smoke from burning trash. The group consists of the two sisters, two other girls from their shared home, Claudia and Carmens mom, and a man. All together they collect around 160 quetzalas a week. Which turns out to be $20, split between 3 families.
I found this family with the help from The God's Child Project for trafficked, exploited and missing persons.The project is concerned that the girls have had very little formal education and that the next logical step in their development will to become prostitutes at one of the local brothels. I was told from Charlie, who heads the project, that they may already have had some physical or sexual abuse. Being there changed me. I've always heard of these types of things, but actually being there with them was totally different. I smelled what they smelled, I coughed when they coughed, I felt what they felt. With the help of the God's Child Project and the incredible people that work with them these girls might have the smallest glimmer of hope.