Guatemala has the dubious honor of hosting the longest civil war in Latin American history. From 1960 until 1996, the country was torn apart from the inside as rebels fought to gain control of the government. Extreme right- and left-wing groups battled for power for decades and the toll on the civilian population was extreme.
Over 200,000 people died as a result of the war, and it is estimated that 80% of the casualties were caused by government forces. Over 83% of the victims were of Mayan descent (Mayas are the most prevalent indigenous group in Guatemala and are by-and-large extremely poor).
Casa Shalom was opened in 1987 by a pair of American missionaries in Guatemala City. One day, Dr. and Mrs. Rick Waldrop were walking in the city when they came upon a group of homeless children who were obviously uncared for and hungry. The couple took in the war orphans and began to open their home to more needy children, founding Casa Shalom. Out of the incredibe tragedy of the war came the blessing of Casa Shalom, where orphans and other needy children can grow and thrive in a secure and loving environment.