In this series of blogs, we want to go a bit deeper into how World Villages for Children ends poverty through education; our work with the Sisters of Mary, how we operate together, the children we care for and educate, our children’s lives after school, and how we spend the funds so generously donated to us.
Whilst at the Sisters of Mary schools the children are taught to work hard and value themselves. The boys and girls learn to see that even though they come from poor backgrounds, they have dignity and they have the ability to achieve their dreams.
Inspiring hope and encouraging confidence and self-esteem is a vital part of their education, so that when our children complete their time at school they have hope and ambition – they are keen to become independent and productive members of society.
After completing their secondary schooling and training programmes, the girls and boys in our programmes around the world have the skills they need for employment and they are supported into stable jobs or further education and professional training.
In all the countries of operation, the Sisters help the employment process by building good relationships with local employers. They encourage their involvement with the education process so that our children have skills relevant to local industries and can find work as soon as they leave school. Rates of recruitment for our graduates compare very favourably within each country.
The Sisters also guide and support children looking to start up their own enterprises as is the case with some of the very first women from the Kiluvya Training Centre .
Many of the alumni are able to use their vocational skills as soon as they enter the working world, or some take on alternative roles to support themselves whilst studying further, like Ross.
For many alumni, completing school and entering the working world allows them to pursue great ambitions. They go on on to pursue careers they are passionate about, giving them financial stability as well as a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Jerome from the Philippines knew that he wanted to use his education to help others, and so after school he worked in a restaurant whilst studying part time for a degree in communications & development. He eventually went on to work with Save the Children Philippines in communications, helping other poor children and giving back to his community.
Some of the alumni, inspired by their faith and the work of the Sisters of Mary, have taken holy orders and become priests, like Fretch and Ritche, both now working in the UK. Their calling to priesthood has given them the opportunity to travel and dedicate their life to the service of others.
Many of the children progress far in their careers and achieve great success. In Mexico, Felipe used his technical skills to get into college, after which he studied medicine at Cristobel College. Now a qualified doctor, Felipe works as a Director of the Health Department in Veracruz, helping vulnerable people in the most remote and impoverished regions access healthcare. He hopes to specialise in paediatrics and help other children living in poverty.
The graduate alumni groups are a vital part of the ongoing support for the children leaving the schools and their successful employment. These alumni groups provide a network of support for all graduates from the schools both within their countries but also as they travel further around the world.
The alumni associations link graduates together, helping newer graduates with practical support, navigating life after school, and helping one another to prepare for work or find jobs through professional networks.
These associations are an invaluable support for graduates as they learn and become independent after school. There are alumni associations in the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Brazil which are run by dedicated graduates like Merlie .
Once the children finish school, find work and are able to support themselves, they will also reach out to support many generations of their families. One graduate in Guatemala, Clara, calculates that she has so far supported 25 members of her extended family, either into education or financially.
Our graduates are driven to make a difference and to repay the opportunities they have received. They often contribute to their local communities as well as directly to the support of the children still at the Sisters of Mary schools or they join with the alumni groups to support the Sisters in their community work or day to day education work at the schools.
As direct beneficiaries of the programmes, the graduates know first-hand the real value provided by the Sisters of Mary programmes. As they progress in life and develop their careers many of them become employers themselves. Some alumni, like Jony now consistently employ hundreds of our graduates in the Philippines and in many companies in this country our graduates now make up nearly 100% of the workforce.
Some alumni are employed back into the schools, like Sherlyn, who works in Mexico, supporting the Sisters in running the programmes. In Tanzania, Melvin (pictured right), a graduate from the Philippines, teaches culinary arts to girls in Kisarawe Girls School.
Mt Iztaccíhuatl Expedition Updates
In December 2023, Enrique climbs Mt Iztaccíhuatl. You can read his updates on training and preparing for the expedition here
In September 2023, the UN reviewed its progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Over October, we reflected on how we work towards these goals within our programmes providing our children with the opportunities to escape from poverty and thrive.
Tanzania programme visit 2023
In September, Nicola and Carey from the World Villages team travelled to Tanzania for the inauguration of the new boys’ school in Dodoma. It will serve to educate some of the most impoverished boys in Tanzania.