a girl, Maria, stands in her informal home in Mexico with a nun
Maria (left) with Sister Margie on a home visit in Guerrero, Mexico

Early life

“My name is Maria. I was born on in Guerrero and my mother’s name is Martina.

I have a sister who is 7 years old. I studied at a primary school and I helped my mother with all the toilets in the house, looked after my sister and made me responsible for the whole house while my mother worked. All her life, my mother works as a housewife.

When I was little, my dad abandoned me, but I never lacked anything because I had my mom. I never needed a father to give me everything. With the efforts of my mother, we got ahead. Mom and my family never left me alone.”

Poverty in a single parent home

Maria’s mother works as a cleaner, earning 100 pesos a day (less than £4). In order to earn more money, Maria would often join her mother at work, cleaning homes. Almost half of the family income goes to the landlord who owns their home. When the Sisters met Maria in 2021, school closures during the pandemic meant that she had missed out on vital primary education, with no mobile or internet to access online classes.

Maria sits a dinner table in a group, waving at the camera with a nun standing alongside her

Life at school

Food for the family is scarce and the cost of it has become such a burden that they often skip meals to make ends meet.  This is why we offered Maria a place at our girls’ school in Chalco where we can keep her safe, help build her strength and give her the vital chance of an education.

“Now, I am 12 years old. When they told me about Villa de los Niños, I wanted to come to continue my studies that’s why I’m studying at this school. I am looking forward to my studies to get good grades and my family is proud of me. I want to achieve my dreams and be a great teacher as I always dreamed of. That is my goal and I am going to achieve it because here I am learning many things in class, and in study time.

I have fun with my classmates, I play, and I do many things with my classmates and my mother in charge.”

Living in safety and security at school

With a place in school and full time care Maria can put her trust in others for the first time. Your support gives her a glimpse of a new life. She can trust that the Sisters will care for her, give her a proper childhood and make her life better.

“I want to lift my family out of poverty, and I have the courage to meet my goals, to do my best for my family and my sister, and to value my mother's effort.”

Maria A Chalco Girlstown, Mexico