When my husband Marty and I planned a trip to Central America, we knew there would be a perfect place to deliver Peace Pals. We tucked about 35 of these delightful dolls into our luggage and found our delivery spot in Guatemala City. The capital city has a 40 acre dump where over 30 percent of the country’s garbage goes. Men, women and children scour the dump daily for building materials, food, and recyclable materials, encountering toxic chemicals, used medical supplies, and animal and human corpses as they scavenged.
In 1997 Hadley Denning, an American woman, saw the horrific conditions and the staggering needs and started Safe Passage-Camino Seguro. From 46 children in the original school, the project has grown to 600 children and 100 adults in full-day, after school, adult learning and business programs. We visited all the programs and were so impressed by the quality of education the participants were receiving and by the happiness on the faces of adults and children. For all of them, participation meant a possible way out of the grinding poverty of the dump community. Our Peace Pals went to the very youngest preschool class. We hope they will travel the road to success with these beautiful children.
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