Smiling girl closeup

More than five million children in Mexico are living in extreme poverty and situations of difficulty and danger. Uneven distribution of wealth in the country has caused a huge social divide and communities in the South of the country experience devastating poverty and deprivation which particularly impacts their children.

A lack of access to education and employment opportunities for parents sustains this level of poverty, and where state education is provided it is often of poor quality. The youngest boys in these communities remain in harm’s way from the local gangs and early marriages for girls, some as young as 12, are common in these regions. Such a poor start in life has a huge impact on a child’s future welfare and productivity.

In 1990, Father Al and the Sisters of Mary accepted the invitation of His Excellency, Msgr. Jose Maria Hernandez Gonzalez, Bishop of the Diocese of Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico, to establish charity programmes in Mexico to address the urgent need for care and vocational education to help their worst-affected children towards employment and freedom from these lives of poverty.

Students in class being instructed by a teacher

With the support of our donors, the Sisters of Mary started the Girlstown programme in Chalco in 1991 followed by a programme for boys in Guadalajara in 1998.

These programmes for children aged 11-18 provide full-time care, medical support, academic and vocational training which is accredited by the Mexican Education Authority (SEP) (Secretaria de Educacion Publica). The programmes set these most impoverished children on the path to full-time work and a brighter, more productive and secure future.