The halls of Safe Passage often ring with joy, laughter, and the sounds of ecstatic children, but earlier this month, the mood was particularly festive. The Safe Passage family came together to celebrate Children’s Day, an internationally recognized holiday that promotes the rights and well-being of children worldwide.

At our main building, students were warmly greeted by staff and volunteers dressed as Smurfs, Disney characters, and famous movie stars. One of Safe Passage’s dedicated supporters, well-known Guatemalan Chef Javier, even joined in the costumed fun by dressing as a giant chicken! Safe Passage students came dressed as their favorite characters, too, with princesses and super heroes among the popular choices. Many of the costumes were made using recycled materials, and prizes for the best costumes were awarded. In addition to the costume celebration, students participated in class trivia competitions and dances.

In the guarderia, smaller children had their faces painted, stretched up on their tip-toes to take a swing at piñatas, and mingled with teachers and volunteers in their fiesta. US Director Emily Levine was visiting the project that day, and one of the youngest girls in the project approached her. Emily remembers, “We had a wonderful exchange in Spanish about the party and about the pretty doll of her own that she was going to be able to take home. I was touched by how confident and trusting she seemed – a real testament to the quality of care she gets in the guarderia. But then this little three-year old really bowled me over by giving me a big hug and telling me in perfect English, ‘Thank you! Bye-bye!’”

So often in the community we serve, we see children who have to grow up too fast. Children’s Day provided some much-needed fun for our students – but it was also a touching reminder of the ways in which Safe Passage provides an oasis for these children in the present even as they prepare for their future.

Click here to see the Children's Day online photo album.