At World Villages for Children we firmly believe that education is the catalyst for unlocking the potential of girls around the world. Poor education holds them back and prevents them from fulfilling their potential, keeping them instead in poverty and bound by traditional gender roles.
Below are the lives of two of our graduates who have embarked on careers that they wanted and were able to attain thanks to the high quality education and support provided at our schools worldwide. Just two of thousands of girls from our programmes who have gone on to achieve great things in the world.
Through education, the possibilities of what children can do are endless.
Merlie was born the fifth of nine children and she had an impoverished childhood growing up in the province of Oriental Mindoro. Living in one of the most fertile areas in the Philippines, where rice, corn and vegetables are grown, rural work was the family's only source of income. From a very young age she laboured as an agricultural worker to help her family and was rarely in school.
She says she had a difficult life but felt happy and blessed when she was offered a place with the Sisters of Mary. She says: “It was during the cataclysmic 1991 Eruption of Mount Pinatubo when our batch entered the Sisters of Mary School. We were strangers coming from different provinces of Luzon but over time we got to know each other well and I spent four happy years there and made friends for life.”
Merlie graduated from the Sisters of Mary school near Cavite in the Philippines in 1995. She proudly wears her ‘Batch 95’ t-shirt when she reunites with her fellow classmates every six months.
With her school graduation certificate in hand, Merlie found work, and started supporting her parents and siblings with her wages. In her spare time she pursued a business degree and finally she qualified to work as a recruiting manager supplying crews to the maritime industry. She has since worked her way up to team leader and there she met her husband.
On her success she says: “My crews appreciate my competence and are happy when I lead them. I am successful and drive my own car. Why not? After all, I work hard."
She has a happy home-life with her husband, and three young children. “Every now and then we go out to see the Sisters on Sunday and spend the whole day with them and the new children at school. This is good for all of us because my children better understand the values that are important to me. I am proud to be a Sisters of Mary graduate.”
Merlie at work
Merlie with her family
With just one older brother, Amairani came from an extremely poor family in Cd. Isla Veracruz. She was overjoyed to meet the Sisters in 2010 and be offered a place at the Girlstown in Chalco that year.
She found the first months difficult because everything was new and strange until support from her Maths teacher helped her to settle into her new life at school. She began to flourish in her new world and studied hard to follow her dream to help her family.
She disliked running in PE but she learned to dedicate every step to her family and to those at home who were proud of her and what she had achieved.
Among all the teachings the Sisters gave her she will always remember what she was advised in her first-year: "’If you start something, finish it. and finish it well.’ Those words have stayed in my mind and heart and to this day they're still there.”
Amairani loved computing and was focused on going to university to study, then during one holiday she was introduced to friends who had gone into the Navy. This became her passion. Through school she worked hard to prepare for this career and when she graduated in 2015 she was offered a place at the Merchant Nautical School of Tampico to study for her degree. Life was difficult for her but she worked hard and achieved a scholarship to cover her fees.
In 2019, she was selected to participate in the Northern Europe Instructional Cruise as a guest officer and she had the opportunity to travel aboard the Mexican Navy’s Tall Ship Training Vessel, the Cuauhtemoc which visited eleven countries.
Now 23, she is interning at a company in Ciudad del Carmen so that she can complete her degree as a Naval Pilot. She says that life is never easy but her chance at school has transformed her life. She says: “The Sisters of Mary made a great change, not only to me, but to my whole family,”
Amairani at school
Amairani in the Navy