guatemala-city: Ingrid (25), Guillermo (14) and Christian (11)
Ingrid left home to live rough with her boyfriend at the age of 8, and had her eldest son Guillermo when she was eleven, since which time she has had Christian, 11, Brenda, 7 and Darleen, 3.
Six years ago they were rescued from the streets by an NGO called Safe Passage. Over the past few years, the charity has grown to provide schooling and support for over 540 children. In return for attendance at special after-school classes, children are given uniforms, shoes and books so that they can attend state-run schools, and every month their families are given sacks of grain and other food. In this way, parents have an incentive to keep their children in education rather having to rely on them to contribute to the family income by working or begging.
The children's father died three years ago, and Ingrid doesn't want to remarry. "I don't need a man; Safe Passage is father and doctor to my children. I don't want them to grow up thinking that the street is good. Life is so much better now," she says. "I have a house, and food."