02 April 2024

ABBA's gift continues to transform children's lives 45 years later

LA TINTA, GUATEMALA – The sound of boots squelching in the mud cuts through the pattering rain as Andrea Beatriz Calisto trudges up a small mountain path. Mugginess mingles with the acrid smell of burning trash hanging heavy in the air.  The 33-year-old psychologist specializes in sexual abuse therapy for children; she is on her way to give a one-…, Music royalties supporting child psychology & protection services , Andrea is part of a team of psychologists and social workers who work with indigenous Mayan communities in the Verapaz region to treat sexual abuse survivors and prevent sexual abuse.   Royalties from ABBA’s hit song Chiquitita have been supporting UNICEF’s protection work in Guatemala. The funds cover salaries and training for teams of…, National endemic of violence  , “My job shouldn't exist because sexual abuse shouldn't exist,” Andrea says matter-of-factly.   Violence against women and girls is a wide-spread and significant problem in many places around the world, including Guatemala. Girls are seen as objects in Guatemala – often abused and forced to work or get married at a young age. One in 10 women…, A rare case of abuse  , Hidden amongst banana, jackfruit and mango trees, Ana’s house is part of a small mountain community. A hospital in La Tinta referred Ana to Andrea after Ana was raped in the corn fields by a masked man passing by on a motorcycle. Ana did not tell anyone about it for months – until she started showing as pregnant. She did not understand she was…, A more common case , Later in the day, Andrea goes on another home visit – this time to 16-year-old Caro,* who lives in the town of La Tinta. Caro visibly carries the weight of her trauma, with intense and ongoing suffering. She witnessed her father beat her mother to death in public, as not a single passerby intervened. In a rare case of justice, he went to jail.…, Building trust in the community, from within , UNICEF works to strengthen the social system in Guatemala, both at the national and local levels, and works hand-in-hand with local associations.  “We are very pleased with the commitment of the team we have at La Tinta,” says Dora Muñoz, UNICEF’s head child psychologist in Guatemala. “They are dedicated women who are psychologists, social workers…, The meaning of the song Chiquitita, renewed , The Spanish word “chiquitita” means “little girl”. The real, tangible social impact of Chiquitita for children in Guatemala is undeniable.   “For UNICEF, especially for UNICEF Guatemala, these royalties have been of immeasurable value,” Dora says, “because they have transformed lives. I just cannot imagine not having them.”  Justo agrees. “I would…