Sister visiting a family
Brazil - Para State - meeting new children in need

Welcoming new children in need

This January thanks to the kindness of our  World Villages for Children friends and supporters, 1156 of the world’s poorest children were able to take up a new place at our Sisters of Mary schools in Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil and Tanzania.

Education and live-in care will give these children the nourishment, attention and stimulation they crave and deserve. It will help them make a better future for themselves and generations of their families.

However, access to education for the poorest children who remain in these local communities has been devastated by the Covid 19 pandemic.

 

Sister visiting a family home being shown their cooker

Equality of access to education is vital for poverty relief

In the Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil, state education and learning ceased for the poorest children during the pandemic lockdowns. For these children who are already deprived of so much, access to education is never easy but without internet access or equipment for virtual learning these children have fallen even further behind. Conservative figures suggest an average of 250 days of schooling have been lost over the last two years.[1] These vulnerable children and the families that rely on them may never catch up

The Sisters of Mary at work in these communities witness these most vulnerable youngsters, particularly girls, suffering the greatest losses. Whilst school buildings lie dormant, impoverished children are excluded from virtual learning and drift further into deprivation, away from these vital sources of support and care. Girls suffer the added risk of early marriage which guarantees the end of their schooling.

[1] World Bank 2022

Families queuing in a long line for place at school
Guatemala - girls school - queue for places at school

Maintaining care and education for the poorest children

Throughout the pandemic, the Sisters of Mary schools have remained open and welcoming as many children as space and funds permit. In  some of our countries the schools were, and continue to be, the only schools open and providing full time secondary education.  Our schools in Guatemala are a particular example of this.

In Zona 6 and Zona 13 of Guatemala City, our two schools are alone in running full time in person education programmes for secondary age boys and girls. They currently have over 1700 poor children in full time care and education. Demand for places at these and all our schools worldwide has never been higher.

 

New girls at enrolment wearing masks
Guatemala - new girls

With the hard work of the Sisters and your vital support we have redoubled our efforts to give the poorest children the chance of a better life. Our 480 new children in Guatemala this January will have access to additional learning as they start school with little early education. They will have a safe place to grow amidst the chaos and deprivation caused by the pandemic, regular nutrition to help them thrive and they will learn the skills they need to eventually find work and build a better life for themselves and their families.

We couldn’t do this work without you – thank you.