Since 1998, girls aged 11-18 have received full-time care in the safety of the school. They have been free to grow up and enjoy all aspects of a regular childhood. They make friends, play sports and take part in a variety of hobbies and pastimes including football, basketball, hockey, dance, choir. They also practice their music skills in the marching band.
In class, they learn English, social studies, maths, chemistry, physics, biology, arts, music, and PE. In addition to these subjects, the girls also study business administration and bookkeeping, dressmaking, computer maintenance and electronics ready to find good reliable work when they finish school.
In 2021, with the support of donors, the girlstown programme was enhanced with the addition of a water well to support provision for drinking and washing during the dry season and a newly equipped electronics workshop. In 2023, this subject will become a key part of the vocational training curriculum and lead to an accredited qualification in electronics and many more job opportunities for the girls.
The day-care centre for young children, located close to the girls school, was established in 2004 and cares for youngsters aged 3-5 whilst their mothers work. There are 106 young children being cared for on site as part of the day care centre offered here to local families. There is also a medical centre on site to support the girls as well as the local community. This cares for 113 outpatients daily but during the pandemic this has been closed to the public.
Since March 2020 almost all schools in Guatemala have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has severely affected the already difficult educational access for the poorest communities. The poorest children with no means to access virtual lessons have had no learning or the support of school interventions for two years. The long term impact of this on the welfare of the children and families in these communities will be devastating.
Thanks to you, our supporters, and the dedication of the Sisters of Mary, our Girlstown and Boystowns in Zona 13 and 6 remain the only schools open. In 2021 we welcomed more new children into our care. Every child deserves a good start in life and with your help we can continue to make this a reality.