a nun hands a girl a backpack as she enters school

Accepting new students in Mexico

This August was a very special month in the life of our Sisters of Mary programmes with new arrivals, moving up ceremonies and the children’s birthday celebrations.

At the beginning of the month, 1338 new children were welcomed into the Sisters’ school in Mexico. 779 new girls were accepted into Chalco Girlstown and 559 boys  to Guadalajara Boystown. These are the children from the poorest rural and urban communities who the Sisters visited  earlier in the year. Now, thanks to our generous friends and supporters, these boys and girls can realise their dreams of a place at school, a safe bed to sleep in at night, the chance to eat well and grow strong and an education that will set them on the path to full-time work and a brighter, more productive and secure future.

a boy on stage shakes hands with a woman at a graduation ceremony

Moving up ceremonies in the Philippines

Recognition Day and Moving up ceremonies were held in all four programmes in the Philippines in August. This marks the moment the students progress into their next grade and closer to final graduation and a nationally recognised academic certificate and qualifications in a range of technical fields.

This is a big moment for our boys and girls, many of whom never thought secondary school would be possible for them and a celebration of their hard work and success in their studies.

The Sisters work hard to ensure the children have the chance to reach their potential to be resilient and to prepare them for an independent life where they have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work towards their dreams, and live a life free from poverty.

group of men in white coats

Achievements in and out of the classroom

The boys and girls across the world were active in their studies, hobbies and regional pursuits throughout August.

The boys in Grade 12 at Adlas had their Competence and Excellence assessment for CNC Milling and Technical Drafting; the boys in Zona 6 Guatemala completed their senior grade group research project on ‘Violence Prevention in school contexts’, the Guadalajara boys joined the VANDA International Science Competition and the Honduras boys in Amarateca took 1st place in the Science competition.

Outside the classroom there were many successes including Honduras Girlstown taking 3rd place in the National Basketball tournament, the Honduras boys taking 1st place in Volleyball and the Philippines girls in Biga achieving 1st place in the Cavite Quiz Bee.

people standing in front of a building

National accreditation

The Sisters of Mary programmes in each country deliver a quality education that is accredited at a national level. The achievements of the children, and the dedicated focus of the Sisters’ work on vocational education to support employment of the boys and girls, aligns closely with the needs of the governments of these countries and their education policies. The Sisters progress is followed with interest by the government officials.

August saw a number of visits to the programmes from Ministry of Education officials and company representatives keen to observe the work, offer some support and to celebrate the progression and achievements of the programmes.

In Guatemala, the Minister of Education spent time with the girls and Sisters of Guatemala Zona 13 and in Talisay EdComII representatives from government visited the school to see how girls are technically trained in the workshops and how the Sisters partner with companies.

In Tanzania, at the Kisarawe Girlstown,  the Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof James Mdoe, visited the school on 21st August to celebrate the inauguration of the new Schneider Electric and Solar energy workshop. He congratulated the Sisters for a conducive learning environment and “creating a very important initiative for shaping the future of students”.

a group of boys with harvested corn


At a number of the schools in August the children were able to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their gardening and agriculture activities.

At Zona 6, the boys harvested corn from their small garden on the school grounds and in Brasilia the girls were able to enjoy a good crop of lettuce. Helping the Sisters to save money on food and at the same time learning  how to grow food for themselves. This helps the Sisters to ensure their programmes are kind to the planet and sustainable for the future. Read here for more details on sustainability and World Villages for Children.

Boys receiving a rucksack from a nun

Every Child's birthday

On 15th August at all the programmes worldwide the Children were thrilled to celebrate Every Child’s Birthday. Thanks to you every one of our nearly 20,000 boys and girls had an individual gift, wrapped and tagged for them, from you and celebrated the most special birthday.

It was a joyous and emotional day for children who have known such neglect and deprivation. The memories will last them in the years ahead and all this was made possible by you, our generous supporters.