In this series of blogs, we are exploring 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.

Having a health check at school
Young boy having a medical on arrival at school in Amarateca

Arriving at School - health checks

When children arrive in our care they are suffering the physical and emotional effects of a deprived early life.

They are accustomed to neglect and so will be malnourished, diseased and underdeveloped for their age. The first priority work of the Sisters is ensuring prompt medical attention to improve their physical health.

Each child receives a full medical check up, the appropriate inoculations, a dental and eye check, and tests to make sure they are not suffering from any serious long-term illness.

Girls in a classroom sitting at their desks with bags
New girls arriving in Honduras

Starting school

Starting school with us is a joyous time but it can be emotional for all the new children. There are many new routines and experiences for them to adjust to, new opportunities, new faces and new timetables – it can be overwhelming

“I didn’t have anything and suddenly I have everything” (Edineia in Brazil).

On arrival, thanks to our donors we are able to ensure our children receive everything they need to thrive at school, two sets of uniform and PE kit, two pairs of shoes, personal hygiene items,  notebooks, pens and school supplies.

They are assigned into small family groups so they can make new friends, overseen by the loving care of the Sister in charge (or mother sister). They learn about how to care for themselves, wash their clothes and help each other with the daily chores. For many, they will learn for the first time how to flush a toilet and experience the simple joy of running water and taking a shower.


Nun sitting talking to a girl student in the Philippines

Physical and mental wellbeing - Positive nutrition

Providing the children with a balanced, nutritious diet is essential for their recovery.  Food poverty and the lack of a diverse diet means that impoverished children fail to develop [1]  so, an important part of life at school is ensuring every child receives 3 good meals a day and vitamin supplements to help address the early imbalance in their diets, to give them a better start, make them strong and promote physical growth and learning.

[1] UNICEF Child Food Poverty: A Nutrition Crisis in Early Childhood (October 2022)

Finally well fed, the children begin to recover physically but their mental wellbeing is also a priority. Poverty has a severe effect on the mental health of a child but in our care, being safe, stress free and having the hope of a better future has a profoundly positive effect on the mental health and wellbeing of the children.

The Sisters provide compassionate care, emotional and mental health support to the children, with some of the Sisters being qualified as child counsellors to provide specialised support where needed.


Boys in a classroom with writing on their notepads with their heads down

Academic and Vocational Education

As the children grow and flourish they are able to take advantage of the academic and vocational education which is accredited by the local education authorities in each country.  For the first time they have access to the subjects and skills they will need to find work and become independent and ready for a brighter, poverty free future.

Academic Subjects

Among the academic subjects taught at all the schools, the children learn mathematics, English, Biology, Physics, the language of their country, art, music, drama, and many more. Language is an especially vital skill for our children. Many children will come from regions where they speak only a local dialect and so this will be their first chance to learn their national language. Languages are also essential for future employment.

Three girls in Honduras in a cooking class wearing aprons cooking using a frying pan

Vocational skills for work

Alongside the curriculum of academic subjects, each child receives practical training in vocational (technical) courses ready for future employment. These subjects are applied skills such as sewing and tailoring, bread and pastry making, cookery, engineering, tool-making, electronics and solar panel installation, welding, automotive mechanics, mechatronics, computer systems servicing, book keeping, jewellery making, and many more.

These courses are taught from the second year in secondary school, and the courses are chosen to fit the skill needs of the local economy – to ensure that when the children complete school they are work ready for the local jobs.  Stable employment for the children after school is the main focus and so the Sisters are careful to ensure that the courses they offer will be relevant for employers, ensuring rates of employment are extremely high and giving the children the best chance of a good job, independence and financial security after school.

Girls jumping up together
Enjoying sports, Tanzania


The focus of life at school is learning, the children grow well and strong, become excited to learn and keen to make the most of their time at school, but the Sisters place emphasis on a balanced approach. Play forms an essential part of life at school. From the foundation years in the nursery programmes, all the way up to the secondary level schools, play contributes to overall childhood development[1].

At school with us, the poorest children have the stress and strain of poverty removed, they have the space, freedom and safety to build confidence and finally to enjoy a proper childhood.

[1] Learning through play: strengthening learning through play in early childhood education programmes 2018

Boys in Martial arts uniforms. Two of the boys are on the shoulders of other boys. There is a crowd of students sitting and observing in the background.

Extracurricular activities and sport

As part of their leisure time all our children participate energetically in a wide range of extracurricular pastimes and hobbies including sport, artistic and cultural activities. The children compete at local, regional and national levels in these activities, sharpening their skills in competition and excelling against their peers.

The range of leisure activities is wide and includes gardening, football, basketball, netball, dancing, singing, drama, music, hockey, athletics, taekwondo, Arnis (Philippine martial art also known as Kali/Eskrima) and many more. Playing sports and developing new hobbies allows the children to make  friends, and build confidence as well as developing their physical fitness, discipline and athletic agility.  These new skills are transforming for the children, particularly girls like Rejane in Brazil who has been empowered by her new love for taekwondo.

A place at our schools provides the poorest children with a vital opportunity for education. It transforms their lives.