What is COF?
Feminine Orientation Center -COF- (Centro de Orientación Femenina, in spanish.) is a detention center for women located in the Pavon estate at the Municipality of Fraijanes, department of Guatemala, 20 kilometers from the city and 600 meters from the Pavón Model Rehabilitation. It consists of a six houses home complex that can accommodate 24 people inside. There is a Catholic and Evangelical church, school, basketball court, workshops and administrative offices.
The main goal which originates the COF is to accommodate those with sentence duly executory, having to serve a prison sentence and those that for the duration and nature of the process that are pending, should remain in detention for more than six months.
Uncertain future for children in areas of COF
In total, 39 children live with their mothers in the COF. Some of them are hosted by their relatives for a few days to let them know the outside world or to celebrate their birthday, and then they are returned to prison.
Other children will son leave because they can not remain in place after 4 years, as stipulated in the Regulations of the Prison System.
But not all the children of the inmates have the same fate, as many do not receive visitors or know only inside the prison, so when they leave, they are fearful.
Claudia Pascual, social worker for COF, said that on the last November 29th they took the children to the zoo La Aurora, but throughout the trip she was more attentive about Sofia, she was only 3 years old and it was her first time out.
She could not assimilate to be away from her mother and did not want to get on the bus, and it was evident her fear of the unknown, and would not “stand from his seat,” she said.
Pascual explained that some of the children do not receive visits because their relatives are living in the province, so she spends the holidays this year with her mother, deprived of freedom.
From “Mariscal Zavala” to “COF”
Federico Guillermo Ramírez Corado e Igor Bitkovare inmates at the Prison Mariscal Zavala of Guatemala. And with the support of family and friends visiting families at Mariscal Zavala, they organized collects of non-perishable food, milk and diapers intended for children living within the Center Women Guidance -COF-.
Irina and Anastasia Bitkova, distribute the aid collected in Mariscal Zavala for children COF.
Solidarity for mothers deprived of their freedom.
Irina Bitkova talks to a community of mothers deprived of their freedom to show her support and solidarity during hard times, divulging her own story of when she was deprived of her freedom with her daughter Anastasia and about the torture she lived when her son was taken to an orphanage by the state.