GUATEMALA (WKOW)-- We first introduced you to a couple from Verona, about 20 miles south of Madison, last October. Kim and Randy Tews started a non-profit to help children who are dying from malnutrition in Guatemala. We wanted to see their work first hand.
Diana Henry and photographer Mike Kellogg traveled recently to Guatemala. We bring a series of special reports called 'Hope for Guatemala.'
More than half of the country's 14 million people lives below the poverty line. The wide disparities are extremely apparent in rural Guatemala like here in Jocotan. Nearly 70% of rural Guatemalan's are poor, living on just $2 a day.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF, Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in Latin America.
"Everyone is worth it," said Randy. "Everyone deserves a chance."
Randy and Kim Tews have seen children starving and left to die in a the drought-prone region east of Guatemala City.
They knew they had to do something. 5-years ago they began a non-profit called Outreach for World Hope.
"It really makes it feel like all we're doing is worth it while," said Kim. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of travel, and it takes a lot of dedication but when we see a story like this and we know there's a happy ending for these kids it just makes it worth while. It's a really joyful experience."
The Tews aren't alone in their mission. Local volunteers take time out of their lives and pay their own way to reach out and help.
We joined 25 people from around Madison as they made a difference.
One of our first stops was probably the most difficult for team members, an orphanage for abused and abandoned children.
Babies stay here for nutritional rehabilitation until they are strong enough to live with the older children up the hill.
"It's usually at least 30 days for nutritional rehabilitation," said Kim. "We've seen them stay here 60 days even up to 4 months if they are in really severe condition when they get here."
There are about 30 babies here right now. There are just 3 women taking care of them as money is short.
"I feel sad that they don't have a mom or anything cuz the staff is so little and there are so many babies," said Karli. "What do they do when they cry or need to eat. It's sad that there aren't enough people to help them."
This is Karli Bryant's first mission trip.
On the flip side, this is 79-year-old Lloyd Tindall's 11th trip to Guatemala.
"If you look at the pictures on the wall," said Lloyd. "You see those; it's just amazing what happened to those the children that are there."
Programming note: tune in on March 12th at 5pm for a half-hour special: Hope for Guatemala.